What happened during the spring of 2010 was pretty unbelieveable. Somehow, my little farm started getting press. I don’t know how exactly it happened, other than following every lead that came my way, working the connections, and just being authentic. I also think my being really passionate about farming with a beginner’s hope, as well as raising a product I absolutely loved really helped.
It started with Chow.com, in this series called The Wisdom of New Farmers. I was rather embarrassed at the title. The journalist called me during my lunch break at work.
A local foodie website called the Heavy Table, approached me about doing an article about my ducks eggs. The photographer/ journalist came out and we talked and talked. She was a huge fan of my duck eggs, and simply loved my goats. She and her new husband had recently been WWOOF-ing in Italy and dreamed of owning a farm one day.
Then, at the co-op where I was working, I met a woman named Laurie Schneider, a photographer, who was starting to work on a project profiling sustainable farmers. She came out several times that spring and summer to document what I was doing on my tiny farm, and took some stunning photographs. Her work turned into a show at the Minnesota State Fair! You can see the beautiful slide show here.
Another photographer from a local magazine was sent my way by the chef I’d been enamored with. In an article about his restaurant, he’d listed my farm was one of his favorite mini-eco-farm suppliers. Yeah, I’d say in his mind I was mini- he was only buying 4 dozen eggs a week. When the photographer contacted me about coming to take photos, I was a bit skeptical as it didn’t sound legit. But it went great and he took some seriously gorgeous shots at my farm. Sadly, the website that the photographer was using to display the images has been shut down, but I bought a copy of the magazine as a keepsake.
The co-op that I used to work at did a profile on some of their favorite CSA Farms in their April newsletter, focusing on the farms run by co-op alumni. They included my farm! I remember first seeing it in print when I walked into Andrew’s kitchen, at his place in the city. The main photo was one my sister Leah had taken of me being “attacked” by my baby goats. What an amazing thing! The place that had helped me launch myself into wanting to become a farmer, was featuring my farm! It came out right before their CSA fair, and that co-op newsletter article brought me quite a few new CSA customers who are still with us to this day.
The super thick and luxurious icing on the cake was when THE major newspaper of Minneapolis/St.Paul, the Star Tribune, contacted me about a piece they were doing about the “New Pioneers” of farming. They’d found me through my farm blog, I think. The timing was urgent, and I had to be at my day-job on the day and time that they wanted to come out. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I figured it was important, and so I called my boss and said, ” Hey, so the Star Tribune is coming out to shoot photos at my farm and interview me, so…..I might be late to work today…?” I tried to be assertive. The other end was silent. My boss impatiently said “Ummm…….ok, but get here as soon as you can.”
The woman journalist and photographer man arrived late. It was a gorgeous spring day, and I really had no idea how to do this. They followed me around as I explained things and showed them my projects both on the farm and in my home. They seemed fascinated, and the photographer took thousands of pictures, telling me, “look over there, and smile. Now, stand to that side.” I felt a little paparazzied, and it was exciting but also so nervewracking to open myself and my little farm to investigation. What would they report? The journalist wrote nearly everything I said down in her notebook. They examined the plum wine brewing and kimchi fermenting in my jars and went into my bathroom to take pictures of the ducklings I was brooding. No pressure or anything! When they left about 2 hours later, I handed them some of my duck eggs. She said, “oh my editor will LOVE this.” Oh boy. I headed off to work, to deal with my boss’s peevement at my being very late.
The article came out, and it was quite a thrill. Andrew grabbed a few copies at a shop near his place and told the cashier that his girlfriend was being featured in it! I felt overall rather embarrassed, but grateful, and a little bit proud too. This was surely the most exciting thing to happen, to imagine thousands of people reading a glimpse of my little farm life. I didn’t know if it meant I was a farmer, really, but it did propel me to continue to reach for the stars.
Those sample eggs I gave to the journalist turnd out to be a really good idea- her editor, the food critic from the paper, called me a couple weeks later totally infatuated with my duck eggs. He was compiling a list of his Top 50 Tastes of the Twin Cities and wanted to include them as #48 on his list for 2010!