Get to Know Your Farmers
Howdy farmy folks, I'm Roni, sole proprietor here on The Shyre.
I grew up in North Dakota, not on a farm, but my grandfather was a cattle and commodities farmer in Langdon, ND. He grew angus cows and commodity crops; flaxseed, black oil sunflowers, canola and Seminole grain. I learned that farming was long, hard days, but they were worth it. I learned that the weather is not always helpful and that nature has her own plans. I learned there are good days and then there are days that hurt your heart and make you cry. But no matter what obstacle you were met with, there is a path forward. As a very wonderful women used to stay, "Well, it isn't convenient, but it's not impossible" -Judy O'Hare, incredibly wonderful woman.
Anyways, the farm was amazing! We could run wild as children! We could get as dirty as we wanted to, get as tired as we wanted to, climb any tree, sing to any cow and get into trouble as much as we wanted to. It was the best life, summer visits to the farm. As I grew older and monsanto grew in popularity, I watched something slowly die in my grampa's eyes. He'd talk about the "deals" with the devil and how the cost just kept going up, up, up and how he wasn't allowed to keep his seed year to year. One visit, I went to the silo, like I did every time to grab a handful of grain and chew it up. I'd never seen my grampa run before, but he was yelling and waving his arms, "Don't put that in your mouth!!!". Ya, it was all rainbow covered like gas floating on water. Poison to keep rodents from eating them once they were planted. What? Am I not going to eat the grain that grows off that seed? Surely, that would be poisonous too. I'd ride to the grain elevator with him and watch from the cab of the truck, while he was told the disappointing news that his hard work at earned bottom dollar as the grain from overseas was driving down American prices. And the horrible feelings I had learning that several hundred head of cattle had froze in the field overnight from a freak snowstorm that blanketed his farm with 6 ft of snow - yes, while people were sleeping, this happened. Devastation. I don't remember when he finally stopped farming, but we talked about what it would be like if I took over the farm and made it a "dude ranch", where folks could come and see what life was like on a farm. Work hard, sleep better than you ever have in your life, eat real food and connect with the Earth in a way that's you didn't even know you could. But, I became an RN and did some travel nursing.
I came to Washington in 2006, on assignment and never left again. Trees, mountains, water...what else do need?! I took a few years to have fun and adventures before settling down on the farm. For the first 9 years of life in this farm, I had a partner, he's since chosen a different path with his life. Running this place on my own is harder in some ways, but much easier in all the rest. It's scary to leave the farm unattended for more than a few hours, which is why I haven't had a vacation in over 6 years, but hopefully someday I'll get to see the ocean again. My main focus here is the animals and their health. I am forever making charts and calendars and now, social media posts and google ad updates and good gracious...this is not the fun part of sharing farming. But the best part, is the animals. I truly, honestly at the very heart of my heart, love each and every one of them. I always tell them, "If you are sad, scared or hurt, you come to grama, she help you. But you can also come if you just want to tell me you love me." I'm grama, they all have mommies and gramas are always the best, so that's where I fit in. I'm very passionate about farming and being real about agriculture.
So often, we people tell me, "you're living my dream, I want this so bad", my responses is simple.... you can.
Be the change...
I'd also like to take this moment to acknowledge and appreciate Holly Hendrick, who started the Fresh Food Revolution and inspired us so many in so many ways. Holly loved and appreciated all people and stood up for what she believed in. We will always admire Holly and be grateful for how she has inspired us to pursue this life of agriculture. Sadly, Holly passed away in 2018, but her legacy will live on with the success of online farmers markets like the FFR & Kitsap Fresh. Thank you Holly.
Thank you for reading,