We are in the midst of summer, so I have been busy (as usual), and know that everyone else is just as busy. I have been trying to keep the blog posts short and sweet, and provide merely updates on what's going on around the farm. This fall, once everything slows back down, will be filled with blogs about our beef build-up, apple harvest from our orchard, our meat chicken business, and all the ways we prepare for winter!
Corporate Ag by day, Farm-her by night. The work never really ends, and as I am writing this, I am currently sitting at an art show, on a Saturday, working on my side hustle.
What exactly is a side hustle? Well, it’s whatever you do part-time, on the side, as a secondary source of income or business. My side hustle is simply a passion project that I have decided to share with you all.
My passion project started as this grand idea of having a huge farm with endless greenhouses and selling at every local farmer’s market, along with free-range chickens and beef. Well, that’s not quite my reality. Passion projects are usually hobbies that take it to the next level. These things also cost money, so to support my chicken obsessions, I must work a real job.
I have come a long way in the last 4 years though. The last 4 years have made up my post-college life, so I have been working to build up my side hustle since then. In the last 4 years, I landed an amazing career that allows me to educate people in the dairy industry, as well as make good money. This has allowed me to buy my first home (sold that house), a farm, a coop full of chickens and ducks, a mega-sized garden, and a cow. Oh...can't forget about my 3 lovely cats and 2 dogs! I have been slowly working to increase my poultry and beef business and things are cooking along nicely.
I am currently attending my second show that I have a booth at, and business is gaining traction. We have had a really good number of people placing orders for fall meat chickens, and this is only the first round, we are currently up to 20 orders! My first cow will be delivered this weekend, and I am beyond excited to begin building my beef herd (I will break down the Red Beard Beef business in a later blog post)!
I could be spending this Saturday laying out by my parent’s pool and enjoying a nice, relaxing day, but instead I woke up at 5:30am to drive an hour north of my parent's place (3 hours east of my farm) and set up my booth, just to sit here in the summer heat for 6 hours straight. Why would anyone do that?!?!
I do it because I truly love it. I love being able to say “I made all these candles. I grew all these herbs. I raised these chickens, and these are their eggs.” The best part about doing it is honestly being able to educate people on where their food comes from.
It is actually pretty shocking how many people start conversations with me when they see the chicken eggs…”are those farm fresh eggs?!?!?!?”. Then people spiral into a big discussion over how they used to know someone that once had a farm or had chickens. But it’s always “I used to know someone”, or “my Grandparents had a farm back in the day”. Even though I love talking to people when they take a walk down memory lane, it’s really sad because it’s never “I know a farmer” or “I have my own chickens”. I want to help people understand the importance of bringing these skills and this knowledge back.
“These eggs look smaller than store bought eggs”, one guy said as he walked passed my booth. I had to chuckle and text Austin about that comment. Austin quickly texted back saying “seriously, these eggs are double the size!”. I think people are so comfortable with store brought food that they almost don’t believe that these homegrown products are so much healthier and the quality of life for that animal and quality of food the person receives is so much higher.
The biggest shock of all was when a man looked at my cilantro herbs and asked, "is that asparagus". Have we really become that disconnected from our food?
This brings me full circle back to why I choose to spend all my free time working on my passion project. I am making it my life’s mission to teach people about their food and where it comes from.
My challenge for you as we approach the last part of summer is to visit a farmer’s market. Go to a farmer’s market, ask questions, buy some produce, and see how it rates to your store-bought food! Help to support someone’s local business or passion project.