The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Update:
MX Morningstar Farm
MX Morningstar Farm, just outside Hudson, has a lot more going for it than just its interesting name. The well-run farm with a high-traffic farm store, popular CSA and busy wholesale operation has seen significant growth, and because of that, its owners were finally able to purchase the farm this past November.
Owners Max Morningstar and Maria Zordan have been working with HVADC since 2015, receiving Business Technical Assistance (BTA) from financial consultant Brian Zweig through the Incubator Without Walls program. Morningstar says Zweig helped them navigate the paperwork and financial decisions to get to the point where they could purchase the property from their former landlord.
“Brian helped us navigate a few different issues over the years,” Morningstar said. “He’s always the guy we call when we don’t know what questions to ask. He’s been helpful in a million different ways.”
Zweig first worked with the couple when they were looking to move from a previous location to the current farm. He also helped them develop a business plan when they wanted to scale up and expand their presence in the wholesale market.
MX Morningstar grows a diverse array of produce on 30 rolling acres. The couple believes that managing a farm in a holistic and balanced way improves the flavor and impact of the food they grow, to the benefit of their community. They farm using sustainable practices designed to maintain and build the health of their land for future generations.
“Max and Maria are really bright and have great intuition,” said Zweig. “We helped them iron out the details of their plans to see what was viable. I’m pleased they were able to finally buy their own property. They are really well set up for success.”
The farm has seen a big increase in business since it opened the store on busy Route 9H. They decided to scale up their retail operation in 2020, keeping the store open longer hours, seven days a week, and carrying more product from not just MX but other local producers as well. When the pandemic hit and local shoppers started looking to farm stands more and more the MX Morningstar store saw a huge jump in business.
“The pandemic drove people to us in a way we did not expect,” Morningstar said. “Our business has grown fourfold.”
He continued that with the business planning they had done with Zweig through HVADC they knew they would grow to where they are now eventually but the spotlight shone on them by the pandemic got them through the door more quickly.
“(BTA) has been a huge help to us,” Morningstar said. “We wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today without it.”