Friday Introduction: John Dove of Love Dove Farms & Edward Jones Investments
But wait...it's a Monday.
I know, I was just too excited to wait until Friday this week to introduce you to my good friend, John Dove. He and his wife, Courtney, own Love Dove Farms in Howard County, Maryland. And John is also a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments.
John and I met through the LEAD Maryland program. We've bonded over our shared love for being entrepreneurs and shared experience with the challenge of owning and growing a farm business.
He was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions for me. As you know, some are just for fun and some are serious. John has some great advice for all you farmers and small business owners out there, so please take some time to check out his video.
What is your favorite vegetable to grow?
We have about ten acres of veggies (at Love Dove Farms). We got established in 2010 and we grew from about an acre to two to four to eight and then to ten acres. We've built in a lot of infrastructure including five high tunnels, each of which is about 24' by 120'. And we're looking to expand our operations and get into some more niche operations.
To answer the question, though, I'd have to say my favorite is a pretty basic one: it's beets. I love growing beets. If I had my choice of what to grow in an open field, it would be beets. I love beet greens, the veggies are delicious, and they're good for you. A lot of people seem to buy them. So, that's another reasoning to grow beets...if you can sell it, then grow it.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
My super power would be to be able to teleport. I think that would be a nice superpower to have, to be able to take my wife and my daughter, and eventually kids (we're expecting a baby in another couple months). I'd like to be able to travel anywhere in the world in a flash. That would be a really cool super power.
What do you enjoy most about being a dad?
It's pretty simple for me. Making her laugh. Making my daughter laugh is the best feeling. It's hilarious, I love it and having a little girl laugh her heart out is the best feeling ever.
What's your best piece of marketing advice?
In my experience with the farm, I'd have to say the best piece of marketing advice is to build relationships with your customers. Get to know them, get to understand them, that also translates to my financial advising business which is getting to know your clients and understanding what their needs are.
Building relationships with your clients and your customers at the farmers' markets, CSA customers, also restaurants -- you get to know each other and have a relationship, they're going to think of you when they need something. So really focus on building relationships.
Tell us something we don't know.
Something a lot of people don't know about me is that when I was 18, I was an amateur boxer. And I had ten amateur fights. Some of the things I did is won the novice Baltimore Golden Gloves, I went to Ohio State Fair and won the championship there. Then I drove down to Louisiana for an under 19 tournament and fought in that. I didn't win, but I was right there as runner up to the champion. It was a good experience and something a lot of people don't know about me.
Bonus Question: What's a quick piece of financial advice for farmers and small business owners?
My biggest piece of advice would be if you haven't started to invest, start. Start now. I relate this to an old farming adage...someone asked, "when's the best time to plant a vineyard?" The best time to plant a vineyard would have been 30 years ago. But the second best time is today. So that's my advice. Just get started, do something and see how it goes.