"There's something so rewarding about planting seeds, nurturing them & watching them grow, and then reaping the rewards of that work."
This was a quote my dad gave me for an English essay when I was in high school. I remember him saying it with such feeling, that it's always stayed with me.
Of course, at the time, I didn't understand. I was a straight-A scholar with eyes only for the excitement & competition of a fast-paced city. I was determined to get out of small-town Kansas and go save the world or something. I ended up in Manhattan, KS - not nearly as far as I wanted, but it was as far as my more sensible budget allowed.
I was a sophomore at K-State when I met Justin. I had begun working on his family's farm as part-time harvest help. It was a flexible job that allowed me to study while grinding corn for the pigs or in between grain cart dumps. We started dating and it didn't take long for me to begin to understand what my dad meant. I fell in love with the farmer just barely faster than the farm.
As we grew from "couple" to "family", my role helping with row crops and cattle changed and meant a lot more time at home. This is when I began to get more serious about our garden, and as I grew more than our family could eat, began to sell the produce on a roadside stand at the end of our driveway. I'm learning more each year and looking forward to continuing to increase the amount of produce we can offer our community, as well as extending the season that it's available.
When I first met Justin, his family raised thousands of hogs each year, but were in the process of getting out. Having been also raised by a farmer with pigs, I grew up on pork and was sad to see them go. Last year, we had the opportunity to begin raising a few pigs again, and now sell by-the-cut, and whole & 1/2 hogs for butcher. I have to say, having bacon & chops in the freezer again is fun! It's also amazing to offer high-quality meat to our community at such a good value for both us and them and to help drive business at the local locker.
If I inherited a love of growing food from my dad, I also inherited the love of cooking from my mom. When I was growing up, my mom cooked three, scratch-cooked meals a day for our family of ten. (I'm still convinced she has super powers.) I learned the joy of cooking & of watching people enjoy the food we raise. That's why my husband & I recently got a catering license and now have the ability to share our love for simple, homemade, scratch-cooked food with our neighbors for their special events.
Every farmer's goal is to grow good, safe food and to leave the land better than they found it, and as 5th-generation farmers, we are no exception! We truly hope that you enjoy the good food we have to offer on our farm and never hesitate to ask questions about why we farm the way we do.
-Justin & Valerie Visser