Category: Farm2Home

Farm2Home 2015 – for everything there is a season

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Farm2HomeLogoFarm2Home is going on hiatus for a while, but you can read the previous posts here, here and here.

Today’s post was supposed to be another in my Farm2Home series.

But I think I need to give the farmers a break. What was I thinking, trying to get folks to answer a bunch of questions during the growing and producing season?

I’m putting the series on hold for a while, and maybe I can get everyone caught up at a less-busy time of year. What they’re doing right now is more pressing than my questions.

I’m pondering the same thing about my other blog, Suzy & Spice, where I’ve been working on a Main Street Farmers Market (Batesville) series. One farmer has responded to my questionnaire, and, to be honest, I haven’t reminded the others that I’m waiting …

I just figured they were too busy to bother with my pesky questions, or they had forgotten. I’m not a farmer, but I know they are superbusy this time of year.

And this has been a wacky week for me, schedule-wise. You might have noticed.

I haven’t posted at the times I had set up to post regularly (Monday and Friday mornings here at To Well With You and Saturday mornings at Suzy & Spice).

It’s just been wacky.

To tell the truth, I’ve needed a mental break, and even though I’ve tried to stay true to the schedule, my brain simply hasn’t been working fast enough to stay on track. I hope you’ll forgive me.

I would say I’m mentally exhausted, but that’s not exactly true. I’m mentally tired but not near the point of exhaustion. Just dealing with a few stressors:

  • Blind dog who now needs even more attention than before (she was already high-maintenance!).
  • Plumbing problems that took 11 days to fix. And I realized last night – two weeks after the plumber came – that I had filed the bill in the PAID folder instead of mailing the check. 🙁
  • A full-time work schedule at my “day job.”
  • Trying to keep up with writing/blogging/publishing while learning how to do it all better (honing my photography skills, making my own graphics, learning about marketing and content, writing better, etc.).
  • Working on a wellness talk I’m supposed to give at the farmers market Aug. 1.
  • Working on a session I’ll be teaching at the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference at the end of August.

I really and truly love writing for my blogs, but sometimes it means I neglect other things, like spending time with my mom. I hate that. My family is the most important thing in my life besides my relationship with Jesus. (Oh, yeah: I’ve been neglecting that, too.)

One of the things on my to-do list has been to learn a new piece of software that’s supposed to help me keep up with all the irons I have in the fire. It has been a bit of a challenge just to find the time to make use of this tool!

Oh, the irony.

So when I get this way, I have to look up at my white board and see where I’ve written: REMEMBER YOUR WHY.

RememberYourWhy

Michael Hyatt says, correctly, that this – staying connected to your why – is what keeps you on track when you’re veering off course or are tempted to give up. This is absolutely true. (Here’s my why.)

I’ve read a lot lately about persevering when: 1) others think you’re crazy, 2) things get hard or 3) common sense might tell you it’s not worth it, to cut your losses and move on.

A book I’m reading says to dispense with the “lofty” terms perseverance and tenacity and go with stubbornness:

When we’re stubborn, there’s no quit in us. We’re mean. We’re mulish. We’re ornery. … We will sink our junkyard-dog teeth into Resistance’s a** and not let go, no matter how hard he kicks.”

– Steven Pressfield,
‘Do the Work: Overcome Resistance
and Get Out of Your Own Way’

 

I am nothing if not stubborn. (Right, Mom?)

So, while I’m not ready to give up, I need a break now and then. And the farmers need to keep doing what they’re doing right now. If they weren’t persistent, tenacious and stubborn – producing fresh food every season to keep me healthy – I’d be eating ramen noodles for breakfast every day. (And even the ramen noodles come from … something on a farm.)

My goal for the Farm2Home series was to showcase the farmers so that they could keep doing what they’re doing. We all need to sow when we can, harvest when it’s ripe and savor the fruits of our labor when the time is right.

Even though I need little mental breaks now and then (don’t we all?), I continue to sow and water.

Someday I’ll begin harvesting, but for now I’m still in the perseveringly tenacious stubborn phase. 🙂

Ecclesiastes3cropped2What about you? Are you planting or harvesting right now?

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Farm2Home 2015 – Big D Ranch in Center Ridge, Ark.

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Farm2HomeLogoThis is the third in a series on Farm2Home 2015. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

DeSalvoFamilyAtFarm2Home
Meet the DeSalvo family of Big D Ranch in Center Ridge: Phillip, Benjamin, Isabella and Beth. (Photo courtesy of Beth DeSalvo.)

When Beth DeSalvo quit her job at Petit Jean Meats in 2012 and began working on her family’s cattle ranch full time, she soon realized that she needed to go whole hog (whole cow?) in promoting the operation.

Her departure from the “corporate world” left the family with no other income source but cattle and hay, so making sure that folks knew about Big D Ranch – the place her husband’s family has called home for five generations – was going to become a part-time job in itself. (That’s in addition to the other tasks, such as keeping the books and helping out in whatever other ways she’s needed.)

A busy mom of two, she knew that if she wanted to help sustain the family’s income, she would have to take time out of all the things that go into cattle ranching and be available to educate people, show them around and talk up the virtues of locally grown, pastured beef, and of farming and ranching in general.

With all the nitty-gritty of running a cattle ranch, how does she have time for the “marketing and promotion” part of the job?

“You make time,” she said at the recent Farm2Home event at Moss Mountain Farm west of Little Rock. It’s just what local ranchers and growers have to do to raise awareness of their products. No Sam Elliott voice-overs or James Garner promos – she and her family just get out there and talk to people face to face.

And they do a great job: I stood at her table at Farm2Home, chatted with Beth and her daughter, 9-year-old-Isabella, and got a taste of what beef is supposed to taste like.

As Isabella speared a piece of grilled beef on a toothpick for me, Beth and I talked, and the conversation was as delicious as the beef.

BigDTable_Farm2Home2015

Center Ridge, Ark., population 388 (as of 2010 census).
Center Ridge, Ark., population 388 (as of 2010 census).

When you engage with someone who is as passionate as Beth is about her “job,” you lose track of time. This matriarch of the 2012 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year (which also includes Phillip’s dad, Tony) takes her role so seriously that she travels from the ranch in Center Ridge, Ark., to farmers markets and events such as Farm2Home as an evangelist for the virtues of buying locally grown, healthful foods.

“I believe by buying local you are commending your local farmers and ranchers on what they do every day,” she said in answer to my follow-up questions after Farm2Home. “Farmers and ranchers work hard to provide food for consumers, and it is very rewarding to be able share that with our neighbors.”

I asked Beth why she wanted to participate in Farm2Home.

I think it is very important to get out to tell our story. I feel that consumers want to know where their food comes from, and we the farmers and ranchers want the consumers to feel safe about what we provide for their families. The best way to do that is let people know what you are doing and how you do it.”

It’s so important to the DeSalvos that they take their beef outside the local area on weekends to sell and promote. Look for them at the Conway Farmers Market at the Antioch Baptist Church and at the Argenta Farmers Market in downtown North Little Rock. (The Argenta market is where I used to do my “shop local” socializing when Bruce and I lived in North Little Rock. I miss it!)

Ben&IsabellaAtArgenta
Ben and Isabella DeSalvo at the Argenta Farmers Market in downtown North Little Rock, Ark. (Photo courtesy of Beth DeSalvo.)

As Phillip and Beth raise the sixth generation at Big D, they support Ben (age 11) and Isabella’s participation in the Nemo Vista Pioneers 4-H Club, and Beth says the family is “very active” at the county fair. That’s evident by the photos she emailed me (I didn’t use them all). Phillip and Beth are active members in the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and no doubt their children are future members of those organizations.

Both kiddos know how to win prizes at the county fair. Take a look:

Cow&BenWithRibbon
Ben and his heifer Big Momma took Reserve Grand Champion honors last year at the Conway County Fair. (Photo courtesy of Beth DeSalvo.)
Cow&Isabella
Isabella and Betsy took home Pee Wee Showmanship honors at last year’s county fair, and Izzy also won Grand Champion with her turkeys. (Photo courtesy of Beth DeSalvo.)

Arkansas is fortunate to have folks like Tony, Phillip and Beth DeSalvo, who are raising their young’uns to know the value of hard work and the importance of supporting your neighbors as they work hard, too. They’re the ones who feed us, my friends. Or at least they should be.

As often as you can, buy local. You’ll be helping your neighbors and yourself. (And try some beef from the DeSalvos. It’s “The Better Beef to Eat!”)

All right, one last picture. This image makes me think of a photo in one of the Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks. I bet Beth DeSalvo swoons every time she looks at this picture of her man and her boy walking hand-in-hand on their family’s land.

Ladies, wouldn’t you?

Ben&PhillipFromBehindWithCows
(Photo courtesy of Beth DeSalvo.)

Big D Ranch
173 Miller Ln.
Center Ridge, AR 72027 (northern Conway County)
(501) 208-6120 (Beth’s cell)
Website: Bigdranch.net
Twitter: @bigdranch1
Facebook: Big D Ranch or Beth Rohlman DeSalvo
Instagram: BIG_D_RANCH

Stay tuned for Part 4 next Friday. Meanwhile, I’d like to publish a healthful recipe for Monday’s post. Suggestions?

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