Monday, May 16, 2011

My Idea of a Family Business

Meet Your Farmer - Chase Farm from Pull-Start Pictures on Vimeo.

If I could capture my dream for the kind of working life I'd like to lead in a seven minute video, this would be it. I have to admit that I've always been a bit envious of those who grew up working alongside their parents and siblings in a family business. Sometimes you just can't do everything yourself, especially when it comes to something like farming. Who better to rely on than those closest to you? The farming family featured in this video seem not only very driven but also very tight as a family unit.

It would be amazing to be able to start a business one day - one that fulfills my passion for food and growing things and one that can be passed down from one generation to the next. If you've started your own family business, I'd love to hear about it! I need all of the inspiration I can get!


  1. Lovely video that would be a dream to do,for a while i guess thats what the kibbutz was like

  2. My family had a business when I was growing up. It wasn't an all consuming one, but a part time one. It too revolved around the family passions (whitewater kayaking and rafting), but there the similarity ends. My father started kayaking back in the 60s and he helped develop the technology to make kayaks in your basement. Back then you couldn't go into REI and just buy a kayak. If you wanted a white water kayak you had to make one. He eventually wrote Advanced Fabrication Techniques for Whitewater Boats. And my mom sold the materials you needed to make them. As a teenager I had my little offshoot. I wove the heaters needed for the molds. So as a kid I was exposed to all sorts of nasty chemicals. I helped weigh out micro beads (tiny little glass beads - which I'm sure was just great for my lungs). I was exposed to asbestos (used to insulate the molds and ovens earlier on). Though none of us have developed cancer yet, my mom, my brother and I all have breathing problems. Maybe not the pretty picture of a family business you were looking for. Though to be fair to the business our house also had massive radon problems. Way over the FDA guidelines by a factor of 10, so some of our issues could also be related to that.

  3. I'm currently in my second year of selling produce at a local farmer's market. I have a small scale backyard garden. I don't make much money, but it is enough to cover my gardening expenses for the year (and feed my gardening addiction).

  4. Thomas, this video is a fine example of the beauty and the depth of working in your own business. It also seems a wide-eyed view of how much work is involved.

    Most people don't have a clue what it takes to simply grow an apple or produce an ear of corn. When I see buyers press a peach, and ruin what took a year to grow, it's all I can do to hold my tongue and disdain for such a careless act.

    In the realm of business, think of something that requires an experience. I have a friend who has farm meals on his place and thus makes more revenue than just selling raw produce. It becomes an experience and thus a memory, something folks are willing to spend more on and thus help you sustain you life, dream and vision.

    Dream it Thomas; it will happen. Good luck and well wishes.

  5. I hope you get to fulfill that dream someday Thomas, you would be so successful. Don't we all wish we had a Chase's Daily on our Main Street? That is exactly what we need more of.

  6. Great video & inspiring story! I wonder how I missed this place when exploring Belfast last summer. I definitely hope to check them out this year.

  7. This video is great. I have keep this blog post "as new" in google reader since you published it. My husband started a beef farm right out of high school. Most of his friends were going to college, looking at careers to make money. He on the other hand wanted to farm.
    So here we are 1st generation beef farmers, hoping to get into veggie production in the next few years (I studied horticulture in college, focusing on food production). I have to tell you we love having a farm but we also have to work fulltime jobs to make it happen.
    We rent all of our land but own all of our cows and hay making equipment. In our areas it's rather difficult being a 1st generation farmer- most people are here are born into farming, land is expensive and farming in general is expensive but we want to live this lifestyle so we are willing to do it. But there are some days we want to cry and quit. For example, this spring we spend close to $4,000 planting (not including rent) a 50 acre hay field then our landlord gives us trouble about signing a lease for 5 years (giving us time to recop our costs and make money from it). He never did sign the contract but we had a talk with him and we've rented his pastures for the past 4 years so hopefully he doesn't decide to screw us.
    Although our business isn't where we would like to be, we are still building, relatively speaking our farm is in an infancy. My husband has only been farming his own cows for about 7 years ago. Sometimes it's really tough doing it day after day but it's the small things that keep us going, like this year will be our 1st year making enough hay to feed our cows all winter- we won't have to buy any. That's a huge achievement for us. Next year it will hopefully be a greenhouse and manure spreader (save on fertilizer costs & natural WIN-WIN).
    TOM @ Tall Clover Farms is 100% right, most people have NO idea what it takes to produce food. I went on a trip to Europe in college comparing US and EU agriculture, the differences are amazing. The Europeans view on food and where it comes from is amazing- so unlike the majority of Americans. Well I am babbling here... Thanks for posting this video!