Hi everyone! Thank you so much for popping by and checking out our blog, Tales From The Fields. For our first blog post, I wanted to take some time to introduce ourselves and give you an idea of what to expect from the blog going forward!
For those who don’t know us, my name is Stephanie and my husband’s name is Jakob. We live on a 75 acre farm in Eastern Ontario. Jakob is a Territory Manager for a Dairy Nutrition Company and I am an elementary school teacher with the Upper Canada District School Board.
Jakob and I met in high school and we certainly weren’t the best of friends… more like the polar opposite of that. Jakob was born and raised on a hog and cash crop farm. He was involved in 4H, was very studious and serious about his academics as well as working as many hours as he could at a part time job. I on the other hand was nothing like Jakob. I was born and raised in Maxville. I was a highland and step dancer and was involved in as many extra-curricular activities at school as possible, trading in my schoolwork for socializing with my peers.
Jakob went to school at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and I went away to school at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario. Jakob and I hadn’t seen one and other for at least 5 years, when one night we were at a high school friend’s wedding reception and we reconnected. You could say, the rest is history.
We purchased our farm from Jakob’s parents in 2018. For the first two years, we decided that we would plant typical cash crops, corn and beans. I personally wasn’t interested in farming. I loved that Jakob had such a passion for agriculture, but I didn’t know a lot about it (which made me feel extremely uncomfortable when making big decisions), and I didn’t have a passion for it either. I went along with what Jakob thought was best and although our first two years on the farm were successful, they came with MANY hardships that never in my life I would have expected to face.
We were married on November 2, 2019 and our first year of marriage was a total rollercoaster to say the least! Think global pandemic, crossed with growing pains as we try to navigate the world and make decisions that would benefit the two of us as our own family unit, and a splash of uncertainty for our futures. We decided to rent out our land for a year to a local farmer so we could figure out what we wanted together and at one point we thought that meant moving off the farm and getting away from the agriculture sector completely.
After taking time to really reflect on where we were at and where we wanted to go, we decided that we would stay on our farm, but we needed a plan to make it our own. This also meant that I had to get really comfortable with getting uncomfortable and begin learning the ropes of what happens on a farm. Let’s just say it has been a HUGE learning curve for me. At one point in time, I asked Jakob if he wanted corn for dinner and he replied, sure! I told him I would just pop out to the field to grab some to cook it up. When he started laughing, I had no idea why. Apparently, the corn that you grow for cows to eat is NOT the same as what you would grow for human consumption. Like I said, I had a lot to learn. Luckily Jakob is a patient guy and will explain things over and over until I understand. We spent a lot of time evaluating what we wanted for our futures, dreaming big and mulling over how we could accomplish those things while being on the farm, which is how we got to sunflowers.
One day I was scrolling Instagram (SHOCKER), and I was seeing all kinds of posts about people frolicking through fields of sunflowers, having the time of their lives and looking so cute to boot! I jokingly told Jakob we should plant sunflowers for visitors to enjoy because I wanted ALL of the Instagram-able pictures in my own back yard. That short conversation got both myself and Jakob thinking HARD. Jakob told me he always loved the idea of speciality crops. Most cash croppers stick to corn, beans and wheat. There is a steady market for those crops, they are fairly easy to maintain, and people certainly don’t want to go frolicking in a field of soybeans for Instagram pictures. I got thinking that I would love to have a summer job that is in my backyard and how this is something that I could really get involved in and would differentiate us from the rest of the farmers in the area. That is where the idea of Fields of Gold was born. And now, you, alongside us, get to watch it grow literally and figuratively into something beautiful and amazing.
We hope that you’ll stay tuned into our weekly blog as we take you behind the scenes of seed, to fruition as the weeks go on and we lead up to the growing season!
Steph and Jake