Hello from Ohio! My name is Kristin Reese. I live near the small town of Baltimore. We are mainly a rural community but not too far away you will find urban sprawl. This positions us to have a great opportunity to reach out to nearby urban customers and have some fun talking food and farming with those who are two or even three generations removed from the farm.
Thirteen years ago, in the sheep barn at the Ohio State Fair I met my husband Matt. I was running for the Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen and he had just landed his first job out of college working for Ohio’s Country Journal, a statewide agricultural publication, as the assistant editor. He was reporting on the contest. I was selected as the Queen and after many in-depth interviews with the assistant editor we were married several years later. Matt still works for the Journal and now serves as the Editor. Off the farm, I am a Realtor and regularly work with farmers selling or buying land as well as individuals looking to buy and sell homes, land and investments.
We have two children Campbell (4) and Parker (2) who are our helpers around our small family farm. Matt and I both had the luxury of growing up on farms and we feel strongly about raising our children the same way. It is very important that they are very aware of where there food comes from and how hard farmers work to produce a healthy, safe product.
I grew up on a diversified grain and livestock farm and Matt grew up on a dairy and Christmas tree farm. We both had deep roots in agriculture. Today we have blended a bit of both families together and have a very busy farm life and also a farm blog, Reese Farm Roots.
The Reese Family has a 30-acre choose and cut Christmas tree operation and Shiitake mushroom production. Matt and I are active in every aspect of the family's Christmas tree farm including planting in the spring, mowing, shearing and farm maintenance in the summer, and harvesting and working with customers during the sales season. We help make wreathes and arrangements and sell baked goods from the farm gift shop. Christmas Tree farming is defiantly not just a seasonal business. We are busy all year long making sure our customers have the best trees to select from. We grow 7 varieties of trees and have over 30,000 trees varying from seedlings to 10 feet tall.
My parents, the Root Family, raise registered Horned Dorset sheep and grass and alfalfa hay. Most of the sheep are sold to breeders around the U.S. or harvested and sold for meat locally to private customers and to local markets. We also raise meat chickens for local sales, layers for eggs and meat rabbits for show and for market. I market our farm products through my catering business, Local Flavor Foods, which has been a great way for us to bridge the gap between the consumer and the kitchen table.
We are a small farm, but have many friends and family members who are large scale farmers. As a result, we have a unique take on food and farming. We feel it is our responsibility to make sure that anyone who eats foods knows the truth about food and farming. We want all people to feel safe and secure about the food they buy to feed their families. As a person who eats food, you should be concerned about what you are putting into your body. Be an educated consumer.
As a mom nothing is more important to me than making sure my children are safe and healthy. All food safety issues and concerns boil down to trust. If you go to a fine restaurant, you trust the chef to property handle and prepare the food safely. If you buy something at a farmers market, you have to trust that farmer to provide you with a safe farm product. With these larger scale food safety concerns we are hearing from shoppers out there, it is a matter of trusting the USDA and the FDA that are charged with overseeing these big issues such as antibiotics in livestock, genetically modified foods or food safety recommendations.
I personally do trust these agencies. And, I think if you start looking into the research that they do, you will find that is hard to argue with the effort, detail and diligence from these agencies to ensure your food is safe. This kind of research seldom makes the headlines like the scary stuff that we hear about our food so often, but when you really take the time to look at the research, it is very thorough and impressive, and it very strongly supports the practices used to produce the safe and abundant food supply in this country that we enjoy.
Got questions about your food? Talk to a farmer!
Got questions about your food? Talk to a farmer!
Thanks Kristen, what a great story! You can find Kristen on her personal farm blog, her catering blog, the family Christmas tree blog, facebook & twitter!
If you or someone you know would be willing to share your story on the blog, please contact us! YOU could be the next Face of Agriculture!