Tell us a little about yourself (Family, kids, pets, etc).
I was born and raised in Henderson on my family farm. As life takes us by surprise at times, I am back on the farm to raise my daughter and partner in farming with my brother after being away for about twenty years. Eliza, my daughter, and I have two cats, Walter and Trigg, who keep us company on the farm. We have lots of family and friends who help make up our farm family.
How long has your family been in the farming business? Have you always worked on the farm?
My family has been in the farming business for at least four generations. My parents started growing vegetables when my brother and I were in elementary school so that we could have more responsibility and hands-on farm experience. We are still providing the local community with fresh produce today in addition to farming row crops. I haven’t always worked on the farm, nor been interested in agriculture. Before coming back to the farm about nine years ago, I taught school and also served as a full time ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
What do you enjoy most about farming? What is your least favorite?
I have lots of favorites and a strong least. I enjoy watching the entire process, from beginning of planting when the seeds go into the ground until the end when the crops are harvested. It is also exciting to be able to provide our community with local produce and a family farm to come and visit in the fall. You can really taste and see a difference in eating fresh and local, and I get excited to hear from everyone about their culinary adventures with what we grow. Another favorite part of farming is the educational component of our agritourism venue in the fall when children who have never been on a working farm are able to come and learn more about agriculture with our pumpkin patch and corn maze.
My least favorite part about farming are all of the variables that one has no control over for your crops to grow, produce and sell, especially when it comes to the weather and grain market.
What does a typical day on the farm look like?
A typical day on the farm is different for each of the seasons. During the spring, summer and fall months, we are up early to get into the fields, whether for planting, gathering produce in the summer, or harvesting and preparing for visitors on the farm in the fall. A typical summer day includes harvesting produce early in the morning, taking it to the market mid-morning, making deliveries in the afternoon, and then having a little family time around supper before getting to bed and doing it all over the next day.
What do you and your daughter enjoy doing together when you aren’t working on the farm?
In the summer, Eliza and I enjoy spending time at the pool. We also enjoy getting together with other family and friends, especially in our off season when we have more time. We like to cook and bake, and go to the library and park together when I am not working on the farm.
How do you balance working on the farm and family life as a parent?
The balance is difficult for everyone, especially when it is at times nonstop. One has to work around the schedule of tending the land and that means readjusting your schedule so many times. It is a lot easier for me as a mother of one child. At times, there is more flexibility in farm life than in other vocational fields, especially during the off season. Eliza is able to be with me most of the time, which means she sees and understands farm work more. Family and farm go together when it comes to this way of life. You work with your family on the farm and have to depend on one another each and every day.
As a farming parent, what do you hope your daughter learns from growing up on a farm?
I hope that Eliza has the same experience that I did growing up on the farm. I hope she learns how to take and accept responsibility and also develops a strong work ethic along with personal skills. With the diversity of what we grow (both row crops and local produce), we work closely with others and interact with people of all ages. Farming will always be a part of one who grows up and helps to care for the land and one never knows when she will find herself back doing what her parents, grandparents and others did before her. I also hope Eliza sees the beauty in taking care of the land, the miracle of growing things that are beautiful and healthy, and maybe one day, also finds herself somehow helping to feed a little part of our world.
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