At Nature Supply Co, supporting our local farmers is something that is near and dear to our hearts. From cultivating a more sustainable future, to meeting the faces behind the food that nourish our families, we hope to foster a community of connection and gratitude for the modern family farm. It is our hope that with this series, we can be an encouragement to their businesses and show our thanks for all that they give to their communities.
This week, we are honored to introduce you to Adam and Claire Trost, the owners of Bent Arrow Acres. We are so excited to share Adam and Claire's story - how you can go from zero farming experience to where they are today is truly an inspiration. Check out their interview below!
Hi Adam and Claire! Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a little bit about Bent Arrow Acres and how you got started?
Bent Arrow Acres is a small farm in Russiaville, Indiana specializing in pasture raised meats such as chicken, pork and turkey as well as eggs and various organic vegetables like garlic and lettuce greens. We are a husband and wife team and have two young children.
I (Claire) have a very suburban background with exactly zero farming experience or exposure. I met my husband, Adam, in college. While his background was more rural and he grew up admiring farmers, he was raised to think that conventional farming was the only way to do it.
Because of an early passion for entertaining and cooking, I majored in hospitality management. My entire career has been in the food and beverage industry working for big names like ARAMARK and Coca-Cola, but around 2011-2012 I grew more curious about real ingredients, gardening and local food. I was working with a rural K-12 demographic and found it interesting that while they were surrounded by farm ground, they didn’t know much about vegetables or growing food.
I wanted to fill this void, so I got connected to 'Farm to School' and was so inspired by the growers I met along the way. I wanted to do what they were doing and grow my own garden. Adam quickly bought in because he had grown up wanting to be a farmer; but, was finding that conventional farming is incredibly expensive to get into unless you are born into it. Organic farming and raising animals on pasture was a much more cost effective way to farm as well as one that was so much more practical as avid home cooks and made us feel so good.
We started with with a decent garden and 12 egg laying hens in 2013 and quickly became obsessed with growing food. We immersed ourselves in books, blogs, and YouTube learning as much as we could about organic gardens, sustainable agriculture, the benefits of eating local and more. Each year we grew little by little, selling eggs to family members and neighbors and finally in 2016 we launched our farm to the masses. In 2017, we participated in our first farmer’s markets, are available in a local grocery store and our products are found in a couple local CSA’s. We have been so encouraged by the growth and feedback we have received from our new customers.
At this time, both my husband and I still work outside the farm; but, hope that in a few years the farm will be able to support our family.
We'd love to hear more about WHY you do what you do. What inspires you?
I love food. And, I love that I can provide our customers food that they can create meals with for their families. I love to to see what they are cooking and the memories they are creating.
Adam loves caring for animals and the land. He enjoys learning how to provide the best care for the chickens and pigs while bringing back the natural integrity of the land through his farming practices.
These are both great motivators, but a huge piece of our why is to tell our story.
I was born in Chicago and raised by two MBA parents in an upper middle class neighborhood. I was expected to follow a similar path. Nowhere in my upbringing was farming even introduced as an option. Adam was born and raised around conventional agriculture. Yet, he never raised animals on pasture and vegetables were not a huge piece of his childhood.
The morale of the story that we live everyday is that just because your parents, teachers, peers, friends, society, whoever, tells you you are supposed to do things one way, it’s okay to totally veer off course and do something completely different. It’s okay- and good- to break the mold and do something totally unexpected. Especially when that something is something that makes you feel so alive, happy and like you are doing what you are truly meant to be doing.
What are some of the challenges you face as a farmer?
We have been unfortunate to find that predators have been one of our biggest challenges. Raising animals on pasture is great in so many ways: sustainability, the nature of the animal, the taste and more. But it puts the animals in a position where they are exposed to elements like weather and other animals. We have had some bad luck with foxes, hawks and a neighbor’s dog. It is so sad every time.
We also had a partnership end in 2017 with a neighbor and friend who was initially interested in working together. It presented us with a much bigger workload than we anticipated for this big year of growth.
What is your biggest reward in being farmers?
Easily the biggest reward in what we do is to see a customer share what they created with your product. Whether it’s via text or social media, I love that people can take the ingredients we grow and prepare a delicious, nourishing meal for their family that they are proud of.
What are your hopes for the future of Bent Arrow Acres?
As we look to the future, we hope to expand the products we offer. Grass fed beef and lamb are things we would love to experiment with by the end of 2018 as well as more partnerships with restaurants and retail opportunities.
We also hope to create more events where families can come visit the farm. Ideas we have are farm dinners, harvest events, classes and more.
Though our children are young, we can already see the value of having young children exposed to pasture raised animals and how vegetables are grown. I was the kid who thought food just came from the grocery store. My hopes for the future of food and farming is to close this gap and ensure that young people understand how food is produced, that they can do it and that it can be a career option no matter their background.
What is your advice for those who are just getting started farming?
Just do it. Do whatever you can, even if it’s just herbs on the widow or tomatoes in pots on the patio. You will learn so much by doing and have so much fun along the way.
What are some of your favorite resources?
The book that started it all was Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I had to have a garden after reading this book and I learned so much about the value of local food.
Like many other farmers, we are super inspired by Joel Salatin. We also have gained so much from Curtis Stone, The Urban Farmer.
And, because so much of why we farm is rooted in my passion for cooking great meals with the best ingredients I love food podcasts like A Couple Cooks and Radio Cherry Bombe.
You can find out more about Bent Arrow Acres and follow their journey at:
Photo Credit : Jennifer Davis Photography
We would love to hear about how you support your local farmers! You can show your support for Adam and Claire as well as other small, local farmers by purchasing one of our manySupport Your Local Farmeritems! We haveteesavailable in a variety of style and color options for both kids and adults. We also carry areusable canvas tote bagto take to your local farmers' market.
WE GIVE BACK!With your help, we plant one acre of wildflowers each month through the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund.Learn more about this amazing organizationhere.