On this week’s podcast, Marcus sits down with Dale Speetjens with Shipshape Urban Farms. Dale grew up in Baldwin County and left after high school to serve in the military before heading to study at Auburn University. From his first job at McDonald's to teaching in the Galapagos Island, Dale and his wife are now celebrating one year of Shipshape Urban Farms and their first crop! Tune in and listen or read on MobileAL.com, Spotify, or iTunes.
Dale: Yeah I'm good. Hey I'm Dale Speetjens from Shipshape Urban Farms.
Marcus: Awesome Dale. Well, welcome to the podcast.
Dale: Thanks. Thanks for the invitation.
Marcus: Yeah. We've known each other for a while now and I'm excited about what you are doing here in Mobile, so I'm glad to have you on.
Dale: Cool. Thanks for the invitation.
Marcus: Yeah. To get started, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are. We always get some backstory. Tell us where you're from, where did you go to high school, college? And, I know you went to graduate school and married. You know, all that kind of stuff.
Dale: Okay. Yeah great. So, I grew up in [inaudible 00:00:37] Daphne area. And, after high school I was the oldest of five kids, and there's no way in the world my parents were paying for me to go to college. So, I went into the military and I spent a couple of years in the service, and when I got out I went to the greatest school in the state. Auburn, sorry.
Dale: Alabama fans.
Marcus: Half of our audience just turned off the podcast.
Dale: I just killed it.
Marcus: For the 10 of you that are still listening.
Dale: Oh there's got to be more than 10.
Marcus: Yeah, no.
Dale: So, I studied environmental design from undergrad, and then I got two masters from Auburn. One in landscape architecture, and one in urban planning.
Marcus: So, an underachiever is what you're trying to say as most Auburn fans ...
Dale: I try to.
Marcus: Yeah. Now, you didn't say ... Did you go to Daphne High School or Fair Hope?
Dale: Yeah. I went to Daphne High School, but I went to elementary school in Fair Hope.
Marcus: In Fair Hope? Okay. So, what else? What can you tell us about your background before we get into what your current, you know, efforts are.
Dale: So, I graduated from college in 2015 with my second masters. And, my wife Angela and I moved back home. We actually moved back home for me to come work for the innovation team. The mayor's innovation team. So, I spent two years working with the team. And, I was the project manager for the [inaudible 00:02:04] Project. Met a lot of great Mobilians. Learned a lot about the city, a lot that I didn't know. Saw sections of the city that I had never been to. And, really got a really deep understanding of what the build form was like in this city. And, got to meet, you know, my old great team. And, about two years in I was offered an adjunct professor position. A visiting professor position with the University of Quito at Ecuador. Down, in Ecuador. And, I went down and taught for a summer at the Galapagos. I taught an architecture studio down there.
Marcus: I did not know that. That is so cool.
Dale: Yeah. It was a pretty amazing experience nothing like working on design projects to try to change the way a city looks and feels, and make it more sustainable, you know, while having, you know, a drink in a coconut-
Dale: ... and living in an outdoor-
Marcus: Your feet in the sand.
Dale: Your feet in the sand, yeah.
Marcus: Now, ... Actually a good friend of mine who lives over in Panama City threw a conference in Ecuador. I think, at least I think it was Ecuador, a couple years ago. And, it was on a sustainable farm. And, that's not the right terminology. It was on a farm that, you know, was trying to be fully sustained just as, kind of, like its own ecosystem. So, like, you know, all of the food was basically grown or raised there. A lot of the energy was, you know, stuff that they generated. I think they even had a system for the gas that they cooked with, was, like, ... The manure from the animals went into these bladders, and as it kind of created its own methane or whatever they use that for cooking and stuff. And, it was just really interesting. They seem to be fairly far along the path of sustainability.
Dale: So, yes and no. So, I mean, ... The Galapagos, you know, you'd think it's this pristine wilderness with no one there. But, since the 90s a lot of people have moved there. And, in doing so, when it was transitioned from the French government back over to the Ecuadorian government, when the islands were. And, since then the amount of people that live there and the amount of produce and other goods that were brought in have made it to where the cities, the three major cities on the islands, taking them about 90 percent from the main continent. So, what the studio was all about was, "How do you build a resilient, sustainable community that was self sufficient?" So, the student teams that I had looked at those different layers of the city. You know, what is it like for education? What is the ecology like? What, you know, what would you do for food production? And, they actually used some of the systems that I've designed for Shipshape to explore architecturally how you'd incorporate those into buildings and into the city.
Marcus: Very cool. So, that leads you into Shipshape, if I'm understanding your timeline. I know you've been working on this for a long time, but-
Marcus: ... kind of into that as kind of a full time, you know, effort. How did that go?
Dale: Well, it was ... At that point, it was kind of a part time gig still. I came back and taught another seme ... Or, excuse me. Taught two more semesters with Auburn University. And, that's the school that I went through. Then, at the end of that second semester I thought, "Okay. I'm ready to push Shipshape as a full time gig." And, we announced July 1st of last year.
Marcus: Well, congratulations on your first year.
Dale: Yeah, yeah. We just hit a year, and we actually just pulled our first crop out of the ground in the last few day ... Or, excuse me. Out of the water in the last few days.
Marcus: I was gonna say. "Ground?" Yeah.
Dale: It was ... It was almost a year to the day the first crop came out of the water.
Marcus: Yeah. Now, okay. So, we've kinda alluded to what Shipshape is. Why don't you tell people what Shipshape Farms is?
Dale: Yeah. So, Shipshape Urban Farms is an agritech company. We're based in Mobile, and we build hydroponic farms in greenhouses, warehouses, and shipping containers.
Dale: We have a handful of patents for our first product line that will come out. We'll able to grow everything from lettuce and leafy greens, to culinary herbs, to tomatoes and peppers inside completely self sustaining ecosystems with inside these 320 square foot shipping containers. And, inside each one of these shipping containers we produce the equivalent of just under a four acre farm.
Marcus: See, and in ... When we were talking a couple of months ago that was the thing that got me. Was, that, you know, I don't think of a shipping container as a very large, you know, space. But, when you're able to go, you know, vertically as well as, you know, horizontally, I mean it ... You know, the density that what you're growing is quite incredible. So, four acres?
Dale: Yeah. So, every week we'll pull just over 1,200 plants out of the system. So, to put it in perspective we have a 4,000 square foot greenhouse out at our test facility. And, each one of our shipping containers produces the same amount as hat 4,000 square foot greenhouse.
Marcus: How is that ... How is that even possible?
Dale: It's all because of the way in which we stack the plants-
Marcus: In the containers.
Dale: ... inside the containers.
Marcus: And, so you're not stacking in the same way in the greenhouse?
Dale: No, not stacking in the same way in the greenhouse. The greenhouse is a much more traditional path to hydroponic growing versus hat we're doing in the shipping containers.
Marcus: Nice. Well, there's no shortage of shipping containers in Mobile.
Dale: We're the ninth largest port in the country last time I heard.
Marcus: Yeah. And, you certainly know better than most, you know, that. But, so you have a ... It's been a while since we've talked, but you have a location kind of out in West Mobile. And, you're also looking at putting a location in downtown. Is that still happening?
Dale: Yeah. So, we've got a location out in West Mobile. We've got two acres, two hoop houses, and two greenhouses. This facility will let us test in ground planting versus hydroponics, versus our container gardens, that we'll have at that location. A container garden is our hydroponic shipping container farms. And, then downtown Mobile, we're gonna be located at 610 St. Michael. Which is, what? Two blocks away from Blue Fish?
Marcus: Yeah, it's not far. Yeah. Yeah, our current location it'd be about two blocks away.
Marcus: So, no. It's really cool. Now, has that been approved?
Dale: So, we've made it through the first step of approval through the city. We've already got everything taken care of. Actually, I believe it was April 4th, we got that approval from the city.
Dale: So, we've got a little bit more work to over in planning and zoning to get everything in, but the general idea of we have a variance to be able to do.
Marcus: Okay, very good. I'm happy to hear that. 'Cause, I mean, last time we talked you knew you were going before the city. But, I don't know that I had heard that you had been approved.
Dale: So, it was scary. Because, it could ... I mean, that we had put a lot of time and effort for the location if they wouldn't have let us do it there.
Dale: But, luckily, you know, everybody with the city was super helpful and helped us get through the problems that we're having there. And, you know, help us create something that hopefully is gonna be a real asset for that part of downtown Mobile.
Marcus: No, absolutely. So, I mean, as the restaurants come downtown and as the residents come downtown, you know, it's gonna be things like what you're proposing that kind of, you know, like, you're gonna be ... I would imagine you're gonna be partnering with or selling to some of the local restaurants. And, you'll have a co-op. You know, a system where people can purchase, you know, on a regular basis from you as far as some of your leafy vegetables and stuff like that. So ...
Dale: Yeah. So, actually some of the restaurants have already been purchasing from us. So, if you've gone out to anywhere from Noble South, to Southern National, to Rooster's, or a handful of others down here, just about every, ... You know, Chuck's Fish.
Marcus: Chuck's Fish.
Dale: Everybody down here has been super supportive. And, even Vaughn's. We were talking about Vaughn's before we started.
Dale: Got a couple of our market greens. And, they've been putting them on, you know, social media and what have you.
Marcus: That's cool.
Dale: You know, showing off what we've been growing for you guys. And, then, you know, this week you can catch us at both the farmers markets in Mobile. We're going to be at both locations delivering our first CSA package.
Marcus: Well ... And, so just to make sure, because we're recording this today. But, it probably won't go out for three weeks. Is that gonna be a regular thing?
Dale: That will be a regular thing.
Dale: So, every weekend that there's a market we anticipate on being at both the location in Spring Hill, the downtown Mobile location. And, as more CSA subscribers come online in different markets from Pensacola, to Biloxi, we intend on being at those markets as well.
Marcus: And, define CSA for folks, 'cause not everybody's heard that term.
Dale: So, CSA means community supported agriculture. So, basically what it means, it's kinda like a subscription box for lettuce.
Dale: Every week you'll get a package full of lettuce, leafy greens, culinary herbs, micro greens, and then stuff from our seasonal garden. So, all the stuff that we're using to test and experiment versus our container based systems, and even the stuff that we're growing in our container based systems are all going into these packages.
Marcus: Nice. Yeah. I know I've ... I've been a member of CSA before, and it's awesome. I'm gonna assume that these are ll organic, you know, produce. So, ... And, I've been a member specifically of a CSA because of that reason. Is that accurate?
Dale: So, we are not certified organic, but we're using organic growing practices.
Marcus: Yeah, exactly.
Dale: So, we don't use any pesticides. We don't use any [inaudible 00:11:46], or herbicides, or pesticides of any kind. And, really to manage our pests we use bugs. We use other bugs.
Marcus: That's great.
Dale: It's called beneficial insects. So, we'll use ladybugs and they absolutely decimate aphid populations. And, we use green lace wings. And, you know, this crazy wasp that will fly out and, you know, take out slugs and stuff like that. And,-
Marcus: Oh, very cool.
Dale: ... their larvae and [inaudible 00:12:16]. You know, handle all the pests that we would have on the farm.
Marcus: Yeah. For those of you that ... I've gone down this path, because I like eating ... Well, one I like eating. Well, you ... I think we've established that on this podcast. But, two, I really like eating as healthy as I possibly can as far as organic. And, when I can I can get grass fed beef, and chickens that are cage free. And, eggs that are from cage free chickens and all that other stuff. Okay? So, ... But, on of the things that I was taught is that to get certified organic is tremendously expensive. So, just because it's not certified doesn't mean that it's ... You know, like, if somebody's using good practices like you will be or are using, then it's just as good. It's just, the ... Somebody once told me it was, like, $100,000 to have a farm certified organic.
Dale: It's really pricey, especially at this point. But, the biggest piece that holds us back is you have to be in practice for about three years before you can even go up for the certification.
Dale: And, so we're such a young company we can't go up for that certification. Also, there's some discussion as to whether or not hydroponics can qualify for it. Because, we're taking so many of the environmental pressures out. Some traditional farmers don't want hydroponics to be considered organic.
Marcus: Forgive me, but that seems asinine.
Dale: Yeah. I mean, it is what it is. And, right now we can technically [crosstalk 00:13:41]-
Marcus: Or it's not, regardless of the method that you're using.
Dale: But, it's just a label. It's all about knowing who grows your food.
Marcus: True. I agree with that.
Dale: And, when you, you know, go with someone like else or some of the other local great producers that we've got in Mobile and Baldwin County, you seem 'em at the markets. You know who they are. You know who their kids are, that kinda thing. And, you know what they're doing. So, nobody's gonna wanna eat something that's covered in pesticides.
Dale: So, they're eating what they grow, then you know it's gotta be doing some good there.
Marcus: So, I have a question for you, and we've not talked about this before hand. And, this isn't a big, anything big. But, do you ... I know you think about this kinda stuff a lot. Do you foresee a future where individuals family's have a container in their backyard, and they're actually using a system like what you've patented to actually grow their own produce?
Dale: So, that's actually the long term direction of Shipshape Urban Farms. So, we-
Marcus: I figured as much. I know you well enough to know that there's a bigger play than just a couple of farms.
Dale: Well, it's not really that. I mean, that's great and we love Mobile, and we wanna make Mobile a great place.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah.
Dale: We wanna make great food for here, but really we see this as an economic driver of entrepreneurship across the country. It could be.
Dale: So, I mean, this is a business in a box that you can plop down in your backyard. And, you and your wife could work 20, 30 hours a week, and ... Or, you and your husband. And, work 20 or 30 hours a week, and have an additional, pretty significant income.
Marcus: Yeah. You're talking about pulling out four acres worth of hydroponic lettuce. How long does it take for that to germinate and grow?
Dale: So, each cycle is roughly five to six weeks, depending on the crop that you're growing.
Marcus: And, well I mean ... I mean in Mobile. How many crops would you get in a year.
Dale: So, I should say that's staggered, the amount that we're pulling out. So, you're pulling about 1,200 heads of lettuce, leafy greens, or whatever every single week.
Marcus: 1,200 every single week?
Dale: Every single week. So, it's not a one time-
Marcus: That's a huge amount of lettuce.
Dale: ... bump. It is. And, downtown will be pulling close to 13,000 heads of lettuce, leafy greens, culinary herbs, all that kind of good stuff out of the system. And, so we'll be in markets and grocery stores regionally. Shortly.
Marcus: Out of a small footprint.
Dale: Out of a small footprint. A fourth of an acre producing a 30 acre's farm worth of produce.
Marcus: And, you also don't have all the pesticides and roundup, and all that other stuff being pumped into the ground. Because, you're doing it in a contained system.
Dale: And, one of the other best parts of it all, of the whole system design, is we're using 90 percent less water than conventional agriculture. So, for all of you who like to fish you're not getting these nutrient blooms that causes algae in the water, or, you know, all this other stuff that kills of your fishing grounds for the year.
Dale: You know? You're holding that kind of stuff back when you participate and work with farms like this.
Marcus: Now, that's ... I mean, it's incredible to see kind of the direction that all that is going. I welcome the day when maybe not everybody has ... 'Cause, I know it takes a while to get to that point. But, maybe neighborhoods have a small container, set of containers that they each kind of pitch in and grow. 'Cause, I'm ... I mean, a family doesn't necessarily need 1,200 heads of lettuce-
Dale: They really don't.
Marcus: ... a week. But, you know, I mean, like-
Dale: They really don't.
Marcus: ... if you can grow lettuce and some peppers, and some, maybe, you know, some other things, then it becomes kind of a way of getting some food that you wouldn't have otherwise. 'Cause, I'm ... In all full disclosure, I consider myself to be a fairly good person with plants. But, we've, you know, I mean as a business owner, just, like, time is lacking. And, we've tried to grow plants in our backyard a couple of years ago. And, there were a couple of things that factored into it. I mean, like, and I tried to do that down here before. You know, we'd done it up in Virginia. And, the things that you grow as well as the things that you deal with when you're growing are completely different between those two climates. But, you know, it'd just be ... And, it'd be really neat to be able to, you know, have some fresh food that we're not having to go to the grocery store for.
Dale: So, we're already working with a couple of folks on that very idea, of bringing community supported systems into communities in and around Mobile.
Dale: Where, developers will help install. And, then the community members, or employees of Shipshape, or other organizations, will run the farms.
Marcus: Yeah. That is really cool. Alright. But, this podcast is about, is usually about the person. But, I just find that so fascinating. So ... But, do you remember your first job?
Dale: Oh, God.
Marcus: Your first job. You're flipping your burgers. You're making your sandwiches job.
Dale: That's it right there. It was flipping burgers.
Marcus: Flipping burgers?
Dale: Yeah. I worked at McDonald's as my first job. And, I worked there for about two years when I was in high school.
Dale: So, yes. I still have grease burns to probably prove it too.
Marcus: Well, what was ... What lessons do you still remember from your two years at McDonald's?
Dale: Oh, God. Always be on time.
Dale: Always have a smile on your face.
Dale: You know? Things ... You can always remember it this way. Things will, you know, things will never be as bad as they are being in a foxhole in a third world country. You know?
Marcus: Yeah. Yeah.
Marcus: Preach. It's ... There are ... It's interesting, 'cause we talked to a lot of business owners about this very thing. And, some of them try to get around it, "Well, my first, you know, real job ... " And, I'm like, "No. I don't wanna know about your real job. I wanna know about your first crap job." You know?
Dale: I was slinging trash with the best of them.
Marcus: Yeah. 'Cause, I think, you know, we've talked about how the chamber is so involved in workforce development. And, they do have a role, but I think those jobs prepare people. You know, like, ... I mean, you obviously didn't wanna do that for the rest of your life.
Marcus: It taught you that, you know, at least that. And, then also some other, like you said, showing up for work on time. You know, how to greet people. How to present yourself, you know, in a way and stuff like that. So, ... Now. How did you ... Like, you, obviously you come from a background where I can imagine you had a lot of time to kinda think through these things. But, how did you actually start this business?
Dale: So, it actually started wen we were in grad school. So, my wife Angela is a horticulturalist. And, I was in landscape architecture. I was working on my first masters. And, I was in my second semester. I was working up in Birmingham in the Westin of Birmingham. And, I found this ... You know, I was working on this trail system. Found this amazing lot that had an old class A1 rail line running through it. And, it was in a part of town that had no real downtown. No place for business or entrepreneurship to occur. And, it was this old concrete manufacturing. Just as dirty and hard and rough as you could imagine of the site. But, it was right in the heart of this community. And, basically what I did for my studio project, was take what she was doing in her greenhouses, and ask the question, "How can I put this in this old warehouse and these shipping containers on this rail line here, and create a place for entrepreneurship and food to happen? And, bring this site and this part of this community back to life? How can I make this be the heart of this neighborhood?"
Marcus: Were you able to ... I mean, was that actually put into action? 'Cause, I know that-
Dale: So, whenever architecture studios, and landscape architecture, and urban design studios work as students, they work on a collection of projects and then hand it off to design professionals. Those design professionals then take input from these projects. And, so Auburn University worked on this project or two years, two semesters worth of grad students. And, the first project that came out of an idea of that has just been implemented. And, it's the rotary trail in Birmingham. Was originated with a Auburn student-
Dale: ... who identified a really interesting site. And, that's an amazing park right next to Railroad Park up in Birmingham.
Marcus: Ah, very cool. I know that Birmingham has seen it's share of, you know, kind of, like, revitalization of the downtown. Just like Mobile has seen. But, it has a different kind of architecture. And, I actually have a friend in Huntsville who was part of ... He was renting out some space in a cotton mill that had been renovated. And, then there's another one. And, I know that the name is escaping me. But, there's another cotton mill that had artists and people like that. And, I can't remember the name of it. But, you probably are familiar with it.
Dale: I think you're talking about ... Is it in Birmingham or is it in-
Marcus: No, it's un Huntsville.
Dale: Mill City.
Marcus: Yeah, might be Mill City. I know there's ... The one that he had his office in was not that, but the that ... 'Cause, I remember I want there and there was, like, a chocolatier. I guess, is the correct terminology. And, there were painters, and sculptors, and you know, that kind of community there. And, it was a really cool building. But, the building that he had his office in, I just remember loving it because it was this ... I mean, they had these huge, you know, windows in it. And, you know, we were doing some photography in there. And, it was just, the light that came into that building was just stunning.
Dale: I love a good ol' building.
Dale: I mean, I live in downtown. And, you know, the building that we living in before the one we live in now was probably close to 100 plus years old. It was an old department store. Just amazing space.
Dale: Kind of like the old space here.
Marcus: Yeah. We're ... Well, by the time this is released, hopefully we'll be about a month away from moving into our new space. I will be a little bit sad to leave this space, because it's been a good home for three plus years. But, you know, bigger and better things await. Now, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Dale: Learn how to take a punch.
Dale: It's the greatest thing in the world running your own business, but it can be trying at times. It can be hard, and it's one of those things where you never see, no one ever sees how hard the people are running behind the scenes to make it happen. It looks easy when stuff comes up, but you gotta learn to just roll with the punches. Because, you will get knocked down. And, you gotta just realize that you gotta keep getting back up. And, it'll work out.
Marcus: It's just part of the job.
Dale: It's part of it.
Marcus: Yeah. I can imagine going through the approval process with the city. And, you know, as you start to bring in more employees, ... 'Cause, I know you've been hiring recently, and stuff like that. Like, all of those things kind of, you know, settle into your brain. Even at night when you're not even consciously thinking about it. They're just there. Kind of in the background. Kind of gnawing away at your brain. So, but what's the one person that motivates you from the business world.
Dale: Oh, gosh. That's a ... I think Elon Musk, probably. I mean, the guy does such cool stuff. I mean, he basically has taken all the ... You know, I was one of those kids that read the sci-fi books and all the other stuff. And, he's taken all that stuff that you read about when you're a kid, or you know, that fantasy of what tomorrow's gonna be. And, he's putting it into play. And, I think that's what the world needs more of. Is, people who are willing to go out on a limb and say, "This is crazy, but this might work." You know?
Marcus: Yeah. He's definitely ... He definitely works on a different playing field than most people.
Dale: Definitely does.
Marcus: And, I read ... I read his biography, or I read the biography that was written about him. Not his autobiography, but a biography. And, the thing that I was left wondering is, "As a parent, what about his upbringing or what about his situation growing up?" 'Cause, he didn't ... I mean, I didn't get the impression that he grew up of any means.
Marcus: "What was it about all of that that made him who he is today?" Because, he knows no limits. A man who's trying to change the climate by changing how we drive our cars, and taking on the auto industry. Or, flying people to Mars. I mean, they're the biggest providers of space, you know, like, satellites into the space and stuff like that right now. And, then he's also with the solar ... Is it solar city?
Dale: Solar city, yeah.
Marcus: Yeah. Solar city. You know, he's providing another means by which we can cut our dependence on coal and fossil fuels and stuff like that. So,-
Dale: I mean, it's funny. You look like 10 years ago people were laughing at him for SpaceX. You know, when his rockets were [crosstalk 00:26:48]. Who's laughing now? I mean, people thought he was crazy to sell PayPal for, what, $120 million?
Dale: 'Cause, it's worth so much today. But, I mean, that gave him the footing and the grounds to go out and do all the other crazy things that he's done, that has made him a lot more money. You know? I was reading something where he said he'd gotten down to the last $10,000 in his account before the next big thing hit. And, I mean-
Marcus: He was actually leveraging some of his companies. You know, like, borrowing money from one. Or, using credit accounts if I remember correctly from one to foot the bill for another. Which, is an extremely dangerous thing to do as a business owner. Like, you're not supposed to do that.
Marcus: So, if you're listening to this don't take that as an example. But, anyway he did that. And, actually it ended up paying off. 'Cause, I mean, I think he was right at the cusp of, you know, where he was getting ready to sign his first contract with the federal government to provide, you know, satellite service into space. And, I read something a couple of months back where he was looking at ... So, he was taking payloads for the federal government, or somebody, up into space. But, there was enough space that he was putting one of his own satellites in to provide data access. So, I guess he's putting in, like, a satellite network up so that he can provide cellular service or data service.
Dale: That's amazing, 'cause I'm sure he'll probably disrupt, you know, the cellular market next. And, put half of them out of business.
Marcus: We can only hope. So, I am not a fan of any of my options right now. So, Elon, if you're listening as I know you do every week, do it man. Make us happy. So,-
Dale: Can I put in a promo to get a car for free too?
Marcus: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, nothing fancy. Just a 100 D or something like that. Any books, podcasts, people, or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward?
Dale: Oh, I mean ... You know, obviously Auburn. Because, I know-
Marcus: Really, Auburn? They've been helpful? I'm just playing.
Dale: I spent so much time and so much money there.
Dale: The university is great. I know there's the whole football thing, but, you know,-
Dale: ... a good school's a good school/
Marcus: It is. I mean, there's no doubt that Auburn, you know, is a very, very good school. And, as I was saying, you know, a little bit ago, I don't have a dog in that hunt yet. Although, I will ... By the time this goes out, we will have toured Auburn, UAB, and Alabama. So, my son is trying to figure out which ... One of my sons is trying to figure out which one he's gonna go to. So, ... But, ...
Dale: So, I will put a plug for one of my favorite books that I read, was, "Principles: Life and Work". It was written by, you know, Wall Street kinda guy. And, it was all about how he beat the market even in the recession. And, how he treated his company, which was really kinda neat. Instead of, you know, trying to do employee reports and what their strengths are, he treated it almost like a baseball card. He treated each one of his employees like a baseball card. So, it had what they were good at, what they're bad at. Strengths, weaknesses, all those kinds of things. And, the employees really assessed their capabilities based off of how their teammates saw them. It's really an interesting idea.
Marcus: I may have to pick that up. Yeah. Sound like an interesting, kind of, viewpoint. 'Cause, you don't normally hear of that kind of analysis of, you know, employees. So, yeah. It's pretty cool. What's the most important thing that you've learned about running a business?
Dale: I'm gonna go back to learning how to take a punch,-
Dale: ... by far. You know, it's one of those things where even when you've got this great idea and you're working towards it. You know, it feels like something's going wrong. Or, you know, you've just, you know, found out that some piece of tech that you're building isn't gonna work the way you thought it was going to. Or, you just had some funder pull out. Or, you just had, you know, some guy down the street try to copy your exact design. You know? Or, your exact product, you know? It doesn't matter. Just keep pushing. You're gonna get through it. And, you know, you'll do what you're destined to do kind of thing.
Marcus: Yeah. The spoils really do go to the person that has the perseverance to follow through.
Marcus: 'Cause, it's so easy just to get to a certain point and just stop. You know?
Dale: It would be easy to sit around and, you know, work 30 hours a week for some job. And, you know, not push. But, I mean that's part of the fun of it.
Dale: You know?
Marcus: Exactly. Well, tell people where they can find you.
Marcus: And, when will you start taking on CSA?
Dale: So, we actually have just started taki ... Well, we've been taking 'em on for a little while now. But, we still have probably about 50 or 60 more subscriptions available. Hadn't looked in a couple days.
Marcus: Yeah, that's fine.
Dale: But, we still have a couple more subscriptions available. And, we're delivering ... The first CSA is starting the week of the 27th. And, when you sign up for one of our subscriptions you'll receive fresh lettuce, leafy greens, and culinary herbs all year long.
Marcus: Very good. And, that's the 27th of July, right?
Dale: 27th of July, yes.
Marcus: Okay. So, by the time this goes out that will have already passed. But, no. It's cool. So-
Dale: Could say that we're delivering 'em now if you want to.
Marcus: No, it's fine. I mean, you know? Think people will figure out. I mean, I just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't the 27th of August. So, if you're listening to this just know that, you know, it will have probably already passed. And, then ... But, that doesn't mean that those, that's not still open to them.
Dale: When, when you sign up you sign up for a full year from the date that you sign up.
Marcus: Right. And, as you bring on more farms ... It, even if things will have, you know, ... You said you've got 50 or 60 slots open today.
Dale: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marcus: But, even if you I'll all those as you open up additional farms then you'll have additional capacity.
Dale: So, we'll have about 50 or 60 ... Or, well about 50 more slots until we're done with construction downtown. Once we're done with construction downtown that number of CSA subscribers is gonna go from about 120 to being able to accommodate about 300, 350.
Marcus: Awesome. Well, I wanna thank you again for coming on the podcast. Wrap up. Any final thought or comments you'd like to share?
Dale: Thanks so much for having me on. I really enjoyed talking with you guys today.
Marcus: Well, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It's been great talking with you.