I used to think other farms were the competition. That was when we first bought our property and started farming. I’m thinking differently these days. Sure, when we’re selling the same exact product, we are in effect competing for the customer’s business. But that doesn’t mean we can’t support one another, while still celebrating the things that make each of our farms special. I discovered this on a deeper level the past couple of weeks.
Last week I came to terms with my own limitations. I realized I’m no longer able to grow seedlings and maintain our hydroponic towers on my own. Fighting the shame that I felt over what I saw as my own inadequacies, I was reminded of our daughter Emilie’s encouraging words: “You can have a farm to table venue without growing everything on your farm. You can support other local farms.” And that’s what we’ve begun to do.
It’s been freeing to acknowledge that I need help in this area. The bonus is that we’re getting to know some great locals who are passionate about their land, livestock and crops. And that’s not all - they’re passionate in their desire to share with the community the importance of knowing where our food comes from.
Over the past several months we’ve had the privilege of meeting and connecting with other local farms and a ranch. In April our chef Tanner sourced the beef for his braised beef with adobo sauce from Trail of Faith Ranch in Corsicana. This past Saturday the eggs for his first course came from La Vida Buena Acres, only 10 miles from our gates. The herbs for all of the dishes, as well as the okra garnish on Tanner’s second course came from Schoolyard Farms, just 10 minutes away. We’ve also been able to serve local wines paired with each dish, including varieties from Angelita Vineyard and Winery, Triple N Ranch Winery and Cassaro Winery and Vineyards.
Besides the food provided at Saturday night’s dinner, each person who attended brought with them their own stories, experiences and perspectives, adding another layer to our evening together.
Too often we look at others who have a similar business as the competition. But I’m starting to see the validity of my daughter-in-law Yessika’s reminder that there’s room for all of us. We all have something to offer and are unique in some way. So here’s to finding tangible ways of being encouraging and supportive of other small local businesses, farms, ranches, wineries and people. May we go out of our way to find ways to collaborate and build each other up.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the October 1, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.