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Hoffman working single acre for love of farming
By CAROL KINSLEY
SEAFORD, Del. (Sept. 29, 2015) — After just two years of farming, Brendan Hoffman has found success with a single acre of farmland in a quiet residential neighborhood just east of Seaford.
Granted, the acre is next to several acres now planted in watermelons, but most of the rest of the land stretching out to the Nanticoke River is in single-family homes.
Hoffman farms in addition to holding down a “regular job.”
He does it for extra income, but he also likes watching stuff grow, he said. He’s had a big garden for years.
“You put stuff in the ground and it grows. It’s weird. There’s something neat about it,” he said.
Hoffman lacks formal training in agriculture, but his brother studied horticulture in college and helps out. Their father is not a farmer but a factory worker.
“I tried farming 60 acres in Gumboro,” Hoffman said, “but I couldn’t keep up with the labor required. It was way too much, and you can’t find people who want to work.”
He does have a friend who lives down the street from his 1-acre farmette, which he has rented for three years.
The friend comes every day to pick produce, and Hoffman is there also.
One crop that He’s invested heavily in is Chinese yardlong beans. Hoffman’s father helped install the thousands of dollars worth of posts and netting on which the long beans climb some 6 feet in the air.
The trellises are near the street. Behind them, other crops are planted: tomatoes, peppers, Dr. Martin lima beans, cucumbers — “a little of everything,” he said.
A small roadside stand provides produce on the honor system to neighbors who drive by.
As he prepared the land for his crops, Hoffman had to clear a couple of huge trees under which a house trailer had sat empty for years.
He chopped the trees into firewood and sold it, too, by the honor system.
“There’s a better market for firewood than farming,” he noted. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s way better.”
Now, he’s buying wood from a logging company in preparation for cold weather ahead.
Hoffman lives nearby, but checks on his farm several times a day.
He has a 5-year-old son, who doesn’t like growing things, he said, “but we’re working on that.”