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As individuals, we’re all influenced by those around us. It carries over into our work lives as well, and it’s no different on our farm. Our five year journey includes more people than I can count who have impacted our small business in some way - all for the better.

When we first began working on our property, our daughter Emilie was by our side. While she was mainly in charge of our dirt garden and later the hydroponic towers, she influenced many areas of our family owned business. She’s the reason we started offering glamping. While we were preparing the land for a wedding venue, she mentioned that we could bring in revenue by hosting overnight guests. Today glamping is the most profitable part of our business, providing revenue while we continue investing in other areas.

Another influencer was Lori, a garden planner and consultant. Since we had very little gardening experience, we hired her to help us get off on the right foot. We had originally planned to have our dirt garden in the back, left corner of our land. However, when we took Lori with us to see the farm, she immediately recommended an area at the front of the property that was already fenced in. She saved us time, energy and money. We eventually located our hydroponic towers there as well. Now when guests drive onto our farm, it’s one of the first things they see. And as we continue to grow, it’s our desire that they’ll be able to stop in our garden and orchard to pick what they’d like to have for dinner that evening.

Gina, our Tower Farm representative also had an impact on our farm, but maybe not the way you think. A few years ago she was in Texas for a conference and made a point of working with Emilie for a day and later spent the night in our bell tent. As we talked the next day, about animals and other dreams for the farm, she told us about her Kunekune pigs. She said they were gentle, hardy, and in her opinion would be a great first breed. We’ve had our pigs for two and a half years now and agree with Gina 100% percent. We can’t imagine our land without them. As we await our sow Maggie’s second litter of piglets, we’re so glad we made the decision to add them to our farm.

Even before we bought the 21 acres, we had been hosting a weekly dinner group in our loft in downtown Dallas. It served as the model for what we now do under our massive oak trees. We even met Chef Tanner in one of these groups. He was very interested in what we were doing and wanted to be involved in some way. Now we’re pinching ourselves that we get to create Chef’s Table Experience dinners for others to enjoy.

As I look to the future of our small business, my hope is that we never stop listening to the input of others. I’m excited to see how their influence will continue to shape our farm.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the April 23, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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