Healthy and Grounded
I must admit, when I was first introduced to Alyssa Kearn's story, (an organic farmer with two babies who lives on her 20-acre farm just north of Ridgeland), my mind immediately flashed to a scene that was oh-so-Little-House-On-the-Prairie. I imagined her living a laid-back life of leisurely gardening, cooking for her babies in the evening over a crackling fireplace, and maybe even a little romping through the fields in one of those fashionable aprons and bonnets. Of course, this picture was shattered after the very first question I asked Alyssa. "Hi Alyssa, I was calling to see when we could get together and talk. What does your week look like?" "Well . on Tuesday I am at the Richmond Hill Farmer's Market, Wednesday I am making deliveries to restaurants all day, Thursday I am at the Bluffton Farmer's Market, Friday I am at the Hilton Head Farmer's Market, Saturday I am at the Port Royal Farmer's Market, and Sunday and Monday, on my 'days off', I'll be up at five a.m. to catch up on the farming for the next week." .. Pause. "Wow .. you're a busy girl!"
I caught up with her at the Bluffton Farmer's Market on Thursday, and for the first few minutes I had the opportunity to observe her in action. I listened as she described the four different types of squash she grew (including a Cue-ball squash that actually looked like a cue ball!), three different types of eggplant, honey that came straight from one of the 20 beehives on her property, and quail eggs that were a quarter of the size of a chicken egg, but have three times the protein! Although all of the produce was impressive, I was more impressed with the fact that it was all grown organically, without the use of any chemicals or pesticides.
"The way we farm is very simple and basic; we don't have any fancy equipment. From the beginning we decided there had to be a simpler way, so from the power of YouTube and the Agriculture channel, we discovered how to get rid of bugs using just products lying around the house. I've learned that the more love and attention you put into the ground the more it gives back to you. I don't understand why anyone would farm anyway else! A lot of our heart and soul goes into what we grow, and I think the customers really appreciate that."
Another trait that customers appreciate about Alyssa is her knack for cooking and offering her own unique recipe suggestions. For each piece of produce she has available, she can provide a mouth-watering recipe to go along with it. So what does a normal meal look like at the Kearn's household? "I make big meals that usually consist of a meat and something of every color, fresh-picked from the garden. About 80-90 percent of our plates are from the garden, and most of the rest comes from other farmer's market vendors, such as homemade bread. We even have a whole freezer full of fresh-caught salmon from Alaska, because a friend of ours is a fisherman there."
A few of the benefits Alyssa sees from choosing to grow and eat organically is her increased energy levels and the impact it has on her children. "My two-year-old, Noah, can sit in a zucchini patch for an hour and sort out the good zucchini from the bad with no problem. He thinks it's a punishment to play with his toys, because he would much rather be helping Daddy in the garden. Neither of the boys begs for candy, they want carrots, green beans, and tomatoes. I think it's so important for them to be learning the value of hard work from the very beginning. Noah already knows not to leave anything on his plate, because Daddy and Mommy were out there on their hands and knees digging and cutting to make what he's eating."
In the same way, her eight-month-old, Isaac, interacts with the vendors and customers at the farmer's markets completely naturally. He was fully content sitting on the ground on a blanket as his mommy worked, and loving the attention he received from all of his "other mommies" who have seen him grow since he was 17-weeks-old in Alyssa's belly. "Our loyal customers and the other vendors have truly become like our family!"
Throughout my conversations with Alyssa, my impression of her changed from overly laid-back, to overly busy, to my final conclusion, which is that Alyssa Kearns lives a healthy lifestyle in body, mind, and soul. She is grounded in her beliefs, her practices, and the dreams she has for her own life and the lives of those she loves, and that is something that we all can aspire to.
After hearing Alyssa's fabulous recipe suggestions I couldn't help but try some of them myself, using her wonderful organic produce. Yum! But don't take my word for it, try it yourself!
Find Alyssa's at the farmer's market near you for fabulous organic recipes.
How they got started: Her husband used to be in a band that grew a little garden in the backyard. He liked doing it so much that he decided to make it a career.
What they have now: 13 properties (all a tractor-drive away), cows, rabbits, quails, chickens, bees, goats, and donkeys
Name of the farm: Yahveh, which is Hebrew for "The Father"
Restaurants you may know that serve Alyssa's produce: Fiddlehead Pizza, Wexford Plantation, Vines, and Palm Key Catering
In her spare time: She likes to make hula hoops! She used to do hula hooping professionally.