I grew up In Morehead, Kentucky, with the Daniel Boone National Forest bordering our property line at the top of the hill. My family had gardens each summer, and I remember one of my favorite garden activities was hoeing. I determined that when I grew up, I wanted to be a farmer…or a mad scientist. And so I got an early start. I had my own personal garden under the apple tree next to the creek - I guess I figured that my favorite spot was a good place for a garden. Needless to say, it wasn’t terribly productive. As I grew older and gained more experience, I took more responsibility for helping out in the family garden, especially when I returned home from college in the summer.
After majoring in International Studies at Earlham College, I spent several years in community organizing jobs, and realized that what I enjoyed most was helping with a comunity garden. I liked being outside,
being active, and working with plants and soil. I decided it was time to further my dreams of being a farmer.
I first took a job at a demonstration farm for school children, and then moved on to work as the gardener at a certified organic farm/conference/retreat center in Loveland, Ohio. While there, I started a CSA . After the birth of my first son, Jordan, it made a lot more sense to walk out the back door to work, rather than to commute 50 minutes each way to and from work. That's when we made the move to Randolph County.
My Grandfather's mother's family were the Christophers. The first Christopher came to Randolph County in the mid 1800's, and settled in the Modoc area. He ran a dry goods store in Huntsville, just around the corner from where we live now, and farmed closer to Modoc. My Grandad, who grew up in Indianapolis, spent his summers on his Great-Grandfather's farm, and had many fond memories there, including the first time he was allowed to drive the mule team into Modoc by himself. When I was in college, he inherited our farm from his cousin, and later gave parcels of it to my family and my sister's family. So that is where we live now, in the original house that was built in 1880.
My operation has grown slowly as my children have grown, (not so slowly). Initially we marketed in Richmond, IN at the farmers market, but after the birth of my second son, Adrian, we began to attend the farmers market at Minnetrista, in Muncie, IN. For years, we have sold garlic, one of our specialty crops to Good Earth Natural Foods Store in Indianapolis, and have sold to various restaurants in Richmond, Muncie, and Indianapolis.
I can not imagine a job that I would enjoy more. It is the perfect blend of active work and brain work, problem-solving, calculated risk-taking, being outdoors, and trusting that these seeds will truly grow. Nothing is more satisfying than taking measures to improve the soil such as planting cover crops and adding compost. And then knowing that there are wonderful people who are looking forward to eating the things I grow, in ways I feel good about growing it, is the end reward!