I farm like I cook, always learning as I go

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm One of my absolute favorite pastimes is cooking. I recently realized that one of the reasons I like spending time in the kitchen is the continual experimentation and learning, as well as the satisfaction when I finally get a certain dish “just right.” I have become a much better cook than I was in my college days, and I often tell Will that my goal is to be an exceptional cook by the time I’m an older... Read More

Here’s what I need you to know about farming

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm As I begin my third year as a farmer, I find most of my thoughts divided between two major categories: farming is really hard, and farming is really rewarding. But it might help if I break those ideas down a little more. Here are the top five things I want you to know about being a farmer: 1) Local food advocates often tell people to get to know their farmer, but it is really nice for farmers to know their customers... Read More

Building a business plan that fit our community

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm When coming up with our business plan, we put a lot of thought into what would work best in our community. While most of the country is a decade or more into the local food movement, it is just beginning to take hold here in eastern Kentucky. Two of the most common direct-marketing strategies—farmers’ markets and CSAs—didn’t feel right for our community or our farm. When we were first making a marketing... Read More

The next big thing – BOOTSTRAP AT OLD HOMEPLACE FARM

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm Will and I often throw out ideas for our farm while working; things that we can do right then, things that we can do next year, and big ideas for future years. In these beginning years of farming it seems that every year brings a few really big things to fruition. As the days grow darker and our weekly farm deliveries slow to twice a month for the winter, we work through our list of ideas and decide what will... Read More

The bittersweet end of tomatoes: BOOTSTRAP AT OLD HOMEPLACE FARM

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm This September I’m feeling the anguish that comes with the end of tomato season. Tomatoes are synonymous with summer for so many people, and they seem to be a crop that draws customers to my buying club and to my market stand, where they will then buy other items as well. This September I mourn the end of the crop that has helped fuel my sales since Memorial Day, but that isn’t the only reason I’m upset... Read More

New capital for new farmers : BOOTSTRAP AT OLD HOMEPLACE FARM

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm The winter before we started the buying club, we counted twenty-two deer in my future vegetable field over the course of one night. I’m sure you can imagine what we chose as our very first farm investment. Will has an off-farm job as an elk biologist (yes, there are elk in Kentucky), so luckily he already had experience building deer and elk barrier fences. One-and-a-half years later, and we still haven’t... Read More

My Grandpa and the New Family Farm – BOOTSTRAP AT FURROW HORSE FARM

By Caitlin Arnold, Furrow Horse Farm  On February 13th of this year, I came home from work and played the new messages on our answering machine. My mom’s voice came across the line crying and hysterical, informing me that my grandpa had died that afternoon. My grandpa, Richard Norton, grew up farming cherries and apples in the Yakima Valley of eastern Washington State. He witnessed the transition from draft horses to tractors and the arrival... Read More

The veggie girl marries the meat man: Bootstrap at Old Homeplace Farm

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm Some of my earliest memories involve playing in soybeans in the bed of a grain truck. I thought sliding around in the loose beans was the most fun a kid could have. My parents’ transitioned from raising row crops and running a small confinement hog barn to selling certified organic vegetables, cut flowers, eggs, and pastured broilers during my childhood. My parents instilled in their children that it was possible... Read More

Bootstrap at Old Homeplace Farm: Meet Maggie

Welcome to our 2015 Bootstrap Blog series! Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to our four Bootstrap Bloggers, who are all in their first or second year of running a farm. Throughout the season, each Bootstrap Blogger will write about the highs and lows, glory moments and curveballs that come with farming.   I remember processing chickens on my parents’ farm and scowling. At sixteen, I sometimes resented the fact that I had... Read More