• Home Grown Urban Farming: Growing Into Your Destiny with Chelsa Hernandez

    Home Grown Urban Farming: Growing Into Your Destiny with Chelsa Hernandez

    Every time you gather with friends or family for a hearty meal, have you ever wondered how the bountiful spread got to your table? Chelsa Hernandez’ homegrown life story is analogous to the interesting story of produce. From a seed growing and breaking through the ground, to finally blooming, reaching your kitchen, and ultimately your dinner table. Chelsa shares her tumultuous coming of age journey from fashion to writing to what was ultimately her passion, urban farming. Walking home from the train station to her home nestled on a side street in East Orange, New Jersey, she realized her neighborhood was full of empty spaces waiting to be filled and tended. She decided to stop chasing money and started chasing her dream right where she was. Chelsa shares that there is room for us to grow – literally and figuratively – right where we are.

    Chelsa Hernandez is an entrepreneur of homegrown urban market garden that focuses on producing high volume crops to sell to restaurants and clients. Chelsa is extremely passionate about what she does and it shows in the crops that she produces. She has a phenomenal life story that has not always been easy but she never gave up and does what she loves.

    Listen To The Episode Here:

    Home Grown Urban Farming: Growing Into Your Destiny with Chelsa Hernandez

    Welcome, Chelsa. Chelsa, what is it that you do? Where are you from? I’m excited to get to know where this passion of yours came from.

    Great to be here talking with you about my project. It’s been about a year and a half in the making of planning and trying to even figure out where I’m going with it. What I’m doing is I am starting an urban farm or a market garden, which means it’s a fancy term for a really big garden in the middle of a city or a suburban setting. It’s focused on producing high rotation, high volume crops to sell at market and to restaurants and other types of clients. My business name is Coeur et Sol Urban Farms, which is French for heart and soil. With that name, you can already tell what I care about, which is not just growing food but enriching my community with the food that I grow and the environment that I create around that.

    You are so passionate about it. I can tell with everything you do. Your Instagram page is full of pictures and everything that you’re very passionate about. Where did this passion come from and where are you from originally?

    The passion came from where I come from. I grew up in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in a town called Annandale, right outside of Pittstown in Central Jersey out in near PA, a more rural part of New Jersey that most people don’t know about. My mother had a dream of having horses. It’s something she always wanted. She bought this five acre property with the goal of having horses and we ended up filling it up with goats and chickens and I started gardening from the ripe young age of six.

    Was your mom a country gal too or did she grow up in more a city environment?

    She grew up in Brooklyn. She grew up working at the horse stable in Brooklyn near Prospect Park.

    She was around horses growing up, but she grew up in Brooklyn. How did you get started? You said you started at a very young age.

    I always had gardening through my whole life. Everywhere I’ve ever lived, I always had a garden. I lived in Iowa for two and a half years. I begged them to have a garden outside the apartment building. I had a garden at every little apartment or rental space that I lived in. Nobody ever told me farming could be a career option because I don’t think a lot of people really thought it was a viable one. My parents certainly didn’t come from farming backgrounds, so it wasn’t even something on their radar to teach us about. I went to school for apparel design and merchandising. I thought I was going to be a fashion designer, which I don’t know how that fits into everything now, but it does in a weird way.

    You grew up with this passion. You wanted to grow food and everything. Were you pretty passionate about it in high school as well or you were drifting away from it at that point?

    When I got into high school, to give a little bit more background, I was also 4-H kid all my life and dairy goats where my forte. I loved raising dairy goats, milking, bottle feeding the babies. That was my little piece of the farm growing up besides the growing up the produce. That’s where I learned a lot of the skills about what it takes and the work that it takes to farm. I’m carrying that now into what I’m doing in some ways. I have my chickens here. Eventually, one day I hope to have a land where I can have more livestock again. That’s another piece to the whole thing.

    You went to college for fashion. What happened there? Were you getting into it in college or where you like, “This just isn’t for me.”

    When I was in college, it was a tumultuous coming of age journey for me. I was originally going to school in Asheville in North Carolina for creative writing and the school I went to had a farm on campus. That’s why I chose to go there. I wanted to learn more about their meat production happening for the campus.

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    Home Grown: Farming could be a career option. I don’t think a lot of people really thought it was a viable one.

    It was always on your mind even though you went to school for something. You still had in the back of your mind you wanted to do that.

    Then I ran away to Iowa when things happened in my family. My parents separated and sold the property. I lost my mind and I ended up in the Midwest somehow. It was very strange and that’s when I got interested in fashion and pursued that piece.

    What was life in Iowa like? Did you like it?

    It was interesting and different. It’s like a different planet. The way that people live is so different. I learned a lot about how to be more kind to my neighbors there, which is weird. That was my big take-away was how to be different with people, whereas the New Jersey you grow up in with this mindset that like all you have to worry about is yourself unless everybody’s more cordial.

    It’s a very dog-eat-dog mentality in New Jersey. That being said, there’s also a ton of nice people and beautiful people, but you do sometimes get that vibe where it’s, “Look out for yourself, do your thing.”It was a little different out in Iowa. Everybody was a little more friendly?

    Definitely, that was the big lesson.

    Were you farming in Iowa?

    I had a garden there but I wasn’t farming.

    What were you growing?

    In Iowa, I did a little bit of tomatoes, a little bit of peppers. I didn’t really understand what actually went into agriculture and growing crops for city production at that time.

    This was everything you learned back home growing up, like little things to grow the crops.

    I wouldn’t say I was very good at it. I was never a highly skilled gardener. I grow something and see how it goes kind of gardener.

    It’s probably harder and it’s a skill and you probably had to get good at it. I know absolutely nothing about gardening. I would like to start one but I’m sure it’s difficult now.

    It definitely is. Every plant has different needs and a different personality. It’s a lot of learning.

    You’re in Iowa at this point and what’s going on in your life? You’re still doing fashion? You said you found fashion in Iowa?

    Yes, I did.

    That’s a very interesting place to find fashion. I’m curious about that.

    My ex at the time, his mother was an avid sewer and in Iowa, there’s not a lot of style. I created this habit of going to the Goodwill, to state sales and collecting vintage clothing pieces. One thing that I wanted to do was alter them to be more modern. I asked my ex’s mother to teach me how to use her sewing machine. She taught me everything. She taught me how to use a sewing machine, a serger, how to hand stitch. Every hand stitch you can think of.

    Did you pick it up real quick?

    It was a skill that I dabbled in as a child creatively for fun because my mom had a sewing machine, but it wasn’t ever anything. It’s like farming now for me. It was never something that I was like, “This is going to be my future.” I thought I was going to be a writer. I really did.

    What inspired you to be a writer early on?

    Encouragement in my younger years, first, second grade. I started reading a lot of books and writing and poetry was one of my biggest things and I had a lot of support from my teachers. That was really the biggest piece.

    Do you still write?

    Yes, I do.

    I know a couple of people that write and I feel like even if that’s not your “profession,” if you’re a writer, you continue to do that throughout your entire life. It’s an outlet more than anything.

    It’s a creative outlet. It’s something you’d get into a flow state and you just do.

    You started sewing, are you getting pretty good at this point?

    Yeah, I actually started a business. I call it The Vintage Clothing and I would do dressmaking and skirts.

    You were making the dresses in the house and where were you taking them to sell?

    I sold them on Etsy and I would sell them in Iowa City. There is a store, I don’t know if it still exists, called White Rabbit and it was an up cycle to vintage clothing store so it was perfect; handmade goods, that kind of thing.

    Would you walk into that store and be like, “I got some dresses here,” and they would decide if they wanted it or not. How did that work?

    I met a woman. At that time, we were both quite young and she hired me as an unpaid intern to help her with her sewing business. She introduced me to them. The networking thing is something I learned really young.

    She let you bring your dresses in while you were helping her out?

    Yeah, she taught me a lot about that piece of it.

    How was that going?

    It was good, but I was not ready to own a business. I did everything right. I registered the business, I paid taxes on it, but when it got to the point where my demand increased. It was just me. I was overwhelmed and I couldn’t keep up and I gave up.

    It got too big for you to handle? It’s almost like it’s a good problem to have rather than like, “It’s not working. I’m not selling it.”It’s like you just got too big. That’s an accomplishment in itself.

    I think any business owner too, any entrepreneur should have at least one failed business venture under their belt before the big one. I’m grateful for that process.

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    Home Grown: Any business owner or any entrepreneur should have at least one failed business venture under their belt before the big one.

    That didn’t quite work out and then what was your thought process after that?

    At the same time that all was happening, my relationship was dissolving. It came to this big point in my life where I had to make a decision and my decision that I made was to get the heck out of Iowa. I packed up my car and put my dog in the car and drove to Florida where my dad was.

    What part of Florida?

    Captiva Island. It’s in Gulf. It’s a little vacation getaway place and my dad happened to be there, so I just went.

    Was that nice?

    It was. It was a sad time in my life. It was really a difficult time. My first serious relationship, the craziest relationship that probably any person could go through at that young age of 21.

    You did a lot at that age. You built your own business at 21. You’re doing well. It must’ve been an absolute hell going through it, but looking back on it, that’s very impressive.

    I learned a lot of lessons really fast only because I chose to dive straight into crazy town. I just did it.

    Some people never even take that step. You’re down in Florida now? How’s that going?

    I was there for a little bit with him. He was on vacation. It was also through my parent’s divorce, there’s been a lot of craziness. He was dealing with his own stuff and that’s why he was there. I went and picked him up and brought him back to New Jersey in a way.

    What’s your plan at this point?

    When I got home, I didn’t have one. I was trying to figure out. I had gotten at that point just my associates degree in apparel design and merchandising. I didn’t really know where I was going. I was so broken down that I was trying to pick up all the pieces. My friend, she’s very successful at this, but she was starting out on a journey to becoming a production designer for film and television. She knew that I was interested in apparel and she got me into some costume gigs and it started getting me in that path. I pursued that for a while. I was working doing assistant costume design.

    Did you like it?

    It was fun in some ways, but I knew it wasn’t my true path.

    Just like another stepping stone?

    It was another learning lesson, another stepping stone. I got to work on a feature, which was really cool. A very low budget one, but it finally released a few years later. That was cool to go see that. The industry, to me, wasn’t a good fit because it was too nebulous. There was no guarantee that as hard as you work that you’d get where you want it to go. It was more a game of like knowing people, which is a good lesson I learned that’s helped me now.

    What do you mean knowing people?

    It’s very much so like who you know is how far you’d get in that industry. You have to know the right people, you have to service the right people. The distance between where I was and where I wanted to be was just so long. I looked down that path and I was like, “I don’t know if I want to put all of myself into this because I don’t know if this is really what I want to do.”I also started working part time at Nordstrom in Short Hills, New Jersey as a sales girl. Through some time there, I ended up putting my focus into that and work my way up to a manager in that store. That’s where that career started becoming a retail manager.

    Are you still doing that?

    No, I left that in April of last year. I had moved from Nordstrom to Lord &Taylor and then I moved to managing and being a buyer for a boutique in SoHo, New York.

    You are all over the place. Why did you choose to leave Nordstrom and you’re working your way up there? What happened where you’re like, “I’m getting out of here. This isn’t for me.”

    When I got into that position in New York, what I thought I was doing was working my way up to corporate buying or something in that vein, whether it was buying or merchandising or something part of what I studied and my skill set and very well-paid. That was what I was looking at. That was the carrot that was dangling in front of me. I can be at six-figure soon. I was almost there, after bonuses and everything. I was really close, and I was only getting more and more miserable the more money I made. You sell your soul, especially when it comes to luxury retail and corporate retail. It’s very like a sick industry right now as it trickles down from the top.

    That’s probably the best advice I’ve gotten from a couple of people, “Don’t chase the money, chase the dream.” If money is the overall goal, you can never have enough. It’s only money and it’s going to make you get up and do things you might not want to do. That’s pretty amazing that you noticed that and decided to switch over again.

    It was definitely not an easy decision. Between all the stuff I told you about, I got married. Luckily, I have a partner who was very supportive. He’s not a little bit confused by what I was doing or a little bit like, “Is this actually going to work?”He is very supportive.

    When you left in April, did you have an idea what you were going to do or were you starting over again?

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming

    At that position I was a buyer as well. I got to travel to Paris, do the buy for the store. I’ve never been to Europe. It was definitely an amazing, beautiful experience. When I was there was really when my wheels started turning. I was reading The Market Gardener by Jean Fortier. I was reading books about how to start a farm and how to get there. I thought I was going to be working in this career for a long time, saving money, eventually buying land and then figuring it out.

    The goal was to work with the job you’re at right now, save some money, and then way down the road, you’re going to get a farm?

    On that plane ride home from Paris, I wrote down what I wanted to do. As I was writing it, I realized that I wanted to do it now and not later.

    I think everybody should do that. Just get a clear picture of what exactly you want to happen in life, write it down, and do your best to make it happen.

    That was a long flight so I have a lot of time. When I got home I started downward spiraling in that job mentally. It wasn’t just because of my own self, my own findings, but it was a transition in my boss as a retail director. It was a lot of things and it was also me realizing that I didn’t fit there, and it wasn’t me. I can make myself something to someone else to fit into that world. The best way to describe it is I had been cutting off pieces of who I was and dropping it behind me. I turned around and I saw all of it and I was like, “I want all that back. I don’t want to be somebody else.”The nail in the coffin for me was when my boss took me into her office and told me that in order to be successful in this career, in order to advance forward, I need to stop being kind to my employees. She told me I was too kind and that was it. I threw in the towel mentally. I was like, “I’m not letting go of that piece of who I am because that’s all I got left.”

    What did you say to her at that moment? Were you like, “Okay,” and then left or you were like, “There’s no way.”

    I quietly just nodded my head.

    You knew right then it was like, “That’s it.”

    I stayed there for a while trying to make it work and then there was a moment I was visiting my sister in Atlanta. As somebody that runs a business, you’re the one who gets the phone calls if something goes wrong in the store. I’m there spending time with family, which I rarely had time to do because that job ate up all my life. I got this phone call from my boss that sent me into the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had. I was in a dark room for an hour and a half. I couldn’t move. I was shaking.

    What was the call? Why did it send you in such a deep spin, if you don’t mind me asking?

    Somebody stole something from the store. Somebody walked in, walked out with something, and a long story short, I didn’t know how to access the security cameras because nobody trained me on it. I assumed that it was like a thing that corporate had to manage. My boss called me and yelled at me and shamed me, telling me I should know how to handle these things and I’m not fit for my job. It was just too much.

    There’s nothing you can do about it because you’re in Atlanta.

    It just was too much. There are other things that happened that were similar, but this was just uncalled for because she was new. I was still relatively new to the company. They had not really given me proper training and I was flying by the seat of my pants all the time. That really was the final blow. I Googled farmer apprentice positions in New Jersey. I came to this website and I put in my zip code and it pulls up Clifton, New Jersey. I’m like, “Clifton, that’s ten minutes from me. There’s a farm in Clifton?” It turned out that that was City Green, which is a non-profit urban farm in that area. I reached out to them right away even if the listing was like three months old. I didn’t know if they filled the position. It was a whirlwind, but it happened really fast and they offered me a position. It was 75%pay cut.

    It was what you wanted to do.

    It was the right step and I knew that I needed experience before I tried to do it on my own. I need it to understand. They brought me in. They made a position for me and I managed all their learning gardens all over Paterson and they had a bigger learning farm location beside of their five-acre farm in Clifton in Patterson Eastside Park. They said, “Here, you make this beautiful again, because we haven’t had time to in years.” It was their first site.

    You must have been thrilled?

    It was a lot, but it was amazing because I was working independently in the field most of the time by myself. It was the best way to learn about what I’m doing now.

    Would you say you were ready to start that grow up?

    There are some ways, yes, some ways, no. Skill-wise with actual crops, not ready quite yet. Learning about how to create systems and how to manage something like that, it was the best opportunity for me to learn on a very small scale.

    How did you navigate that then? There were definitely some new things that you probably had to pick up quickly. Were you constantly back and forth with them, making sure everything runs smoothly or how did you come up to speed?

    It was mostly self-taught. I utilized a lot of resources that are out there now all over the internet for new farmers. One of the big names is Curtis Stone, The Urban Farmer in Canada. Jean Fortier does the market gardening for larger scale and just a lot of books, a lot of studying. It was like going to school. It was like I was getting paid to go to college. I just took it that way. I learned everything that I possibly could.

    What month is it at this point?

    That’s April.

    When’s the best time to start growing after the winter?

    You should really start your prep work in end of January or early February.

    Then when did you start to plant?

    It depends on the crop. Your greens and things like that can go out about now if you have season extension.

    Is this what you wanted to do? It’s urban farm, that patch of land, you were managing?

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    Home Grown: It wasn’t so much about production as it was about education.

    It was in some ways, but in some ways it was more educational there. It was more so like they’re non-profit was prioritizing educating young children about agriculture and enriching the community in that way. It wasn’t so much about production as it was about education.

    How did it turn out? How are the following months after April?

    I had many battles with groundhogs. That’s the biggest rodent pests in this region for urban agriculture and for most areas because they are relentless. They are really hard to get rid of especially in an area like a park where that was.

    How do you manage that?

    Get creative. Trapping them and releasing them at other places. I was trying out all these different methods of protection, like using fencing or row cover or whatever it takes.

    Can they mow down your entire plot in one day?

    It happened a few times. It was a lot of falling down and getting back up again, definitely. Then the other issue that came into play was not having a full understanding of nutrition for crops, not having high yields because I wasn’t focusing on enriching the soil to produce that said crop. That was the other lesson that I learned.

    What do you have to do to enrich the soil? What is something you can do?

    Compost definitely helps, but like certain crops are heavier feeders on certain minerals or things like that. For example, your tomatoes and peppers really need calcium. If you don’t feed them calcium, things happen like blossom and rot, which prevents any fruit from coming into the equation or unhealthy plants in general. Then what happens when you have unhealthy plants is pest problems because pests are more likely to go after unhealthy plants.

    How do you feed a plant calcium?

    One of the ways that I like to use, because I have chickens and I have a lot of eggs all the time, I’ve saved the egg shells and then I bake them at 300 degrees for 40 minutes. I put them in a blender and it creates a calcium powder. I save that and I put about a tablespoon or two in the hole before I put the transplant into the ground.

    Are you still working with the farm in Clifton?

    I do help them from time to time. I still don’t know if I’m going to be there part-time at all. It’s something that I’d like to do if I have time, but I don’t know if I will, but I do help them with like if they have questions about anything or just re-acclimating to that little piece of land that was taking care of. I help them with that stuff.

    Did you recently purchase a plot of land?

    I leased that land. It’s right around the corner from my home in East Orange, in Ward 1.

    You have been having a busy winter just getting everything. I think I saw you got some soil.

    Yes, for the greens and root vegetable production on the land, we chose to do that on raised beds. We’re in the process of building eleven 50-foot raised beds. We have seven done, four more to go.

    What are you growing there?

    In the beds, it’ll be head lettuce and salad mix. The salad mix, depending on the season. Maybe just be mostly lettuce or with spinach, arugula, tatsoi, which is an Asian spinach and mustard greens. Root vegetables, too, like radish, beets, and carrots.

    I’ve seen a couple of the restaurants are using your produce. How did you get into that? Did you start showing up at restaurants and being like, “This is what I do,” or how does that work?

    The microgreens is like a whole other piece of the farm that started because I wanted to supplement my chicken’s die it with greens in the wintertime. We built this little makeshift shelving system in my office and learned how to grow those. January 2017 is when I started doing that. Then this past fall, we built a larger system in the basement with lights that could accommodate close to 50 or 60 trays of production. I decided to call up The Corner in Montclair. They’re awesome. Jeff, the owner, he’s an amazing person. He entertained my very scattered pitch when I walked into this restaurant with two trays of microgreens and right off the bat said, “Yes. I will purchase this weekly from you.”

    At that time, my life was quite crazy because I was still trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. They were down in the basement, when I was coming upstairs, I tripped, and I fell, and I dropped the trays on the ground and I was like, “This is terrible.” The shoots were going in every direction and I snapped my knee on the ground. I was running. It was crazy. The handshake that I gave him was a really awkward handshake. I felt so bad and when he said yes, I was like, “It’s working. Even though I feel crazy, it’s working.”Then my next restaurant after that, shortly after I practiced a bit more about my pitch. I got my marketing materials a little bit more tight and put together. I approached my favorite restaurant in Montclair, which is Le Salbuen right across from the Walnut Street Station.

    What kind of restaurant is that?

    They’re a French restaurant. It’s a husband and wife that own it. They openly share that they source locally as much as they can. I thought it would be a good try and I also just love their food. When they said yes, that was like the ultimate yes. Greenlight, go, do this, don’t stop. For me, that was a big deal and they’re still, to this date, my biggest customer.

    You brought the microgreens into there, too?

    Yes, it was all just phone calls for those two. Then after that, every restaurant that I’ve accumulated has reached out to me through social media.

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    Home Grown: These beautiful flowers not only serve as a bouquet in your farm. They serve as beautiful supporters of the ecosystem beneficial insects and life.

    What would you like to see this grow into?

    That’s still quite nebulous for me. This journey is a lot of just following the path of least resistance at this time, My five-year plan truly is to have a total half acre, a third to half acre of land throughout the city that I’m farming and produce it in full production and not just only using part of it, the land to produce. I’m also experimenting with cut flower production, which I’m hoping might turn into a really large piece of my business, which is interesting because as a child and a young adult, I always thought growing flowers was a waste of time because you can’t eat them. Now, I’m starting to really appreciate their beauty. I wanted to share with people and not just the type of flowers that you buy from those mass produced florists that don’t even look real anymore, but sharing these beautiful flowers that not only serve as a bouquet in your farm, they serve as beautiful supporters of the ecosystem beneficial insects and life. I’m really interested to see how that goes.

    What flowers did you plant?

    I’m doing sunflowers. I’m experimenting with a few others. One is called Gomphrena. A Gomphrena is like a globe type of flower that dries really well and holds its color. I really liked dried flowers, because you can save them and have them forever. I’m experimenting with that kind of thing, too.

    What does it take to start a couple of raised beds garden in your backyard? It depends on probably what you’re growing, but in general, what do you really need to get going?

    You need some lumber. You can get untreated lumber. You can get that anywhere and it’s not that expensive. You can do pine boards. They’ll last maybe five or six years before they start rotting. Cedar and hardwoods are best, but you can start with pine, which is really not that expensive and some good soil. That’s really all you need. It’s not that hard.

    When you say good soil, do you mean compost soil or is there a good soil you can buy?

    Anything that has a share of compost in it, and if not, you can top that with compost and mix it in, but try to stay away from like your miracle grow products.

    Lots of pesticides?

    That and they add a lot of things to their soil like wetting agents and chemicals like that. Most places you can find, you can just get like a good container soil and then also add compost if that works. You can find a farmer that has a lot of soil and see if they can sell you something for a lot cheaper than buying it in bags.

    Where do you get your seeds from?

    Several places. Johnny’s is the best for vegetable production in terms of pricing and quality. It’s very consistent but high mowing organic seeds based in Vermont. They’re really great. All their seeds are organic, non-GMO. They’re also starting to really step up their game in terms of quality for high production and consistency. Baker Creek is great for your home gardener. They are an heirloom seed company that travels all over the world to find varieties of beautiful, different, unique, vegetables, flowers and herbs. If you want to try something like that, I feel like that’s the best place to start, Baker Creek Seeds.

    How long is the process? If you plant in April, everything goes as planned, what are you looking at to harvest time?

    It depends on the crop. With your leafy greens, those are like a 30-day turnaround time from when you put the seed in the ground for baby leaf. For your lettuce heads, it’s more like 55 to 60 days. Tomatoes, you put those in the ground in May and you get your first harvest in end of June, July.

    How often do you have to water it? Obviously, depending on what it is, but how often do you think you have to tend to your garden? Everyday?

    They need about an inch of water a week, but you need to tend to it every day because you should always be looking at what’s going on and making sure that nothing strange happening or everybody’s healthy. Water is definitely one of the pieces that is probably the most important. You want to make sure that there’s consistent watering schedule.

    What else do you have to do besides the watering that are key element just to make sure everything’s going right in healthy? Do you have to remove weeds that pop up and all that stuff?

    Yeah, definitely weeds. Weed pressure will kill your plants when they’re young.

    EM 43 | Home Grown

    Home Grown: When you have the opportunity to grow your own food, you realize that we don’t really need much in this life.

    You’ve been growing your own food now for the past year or so. I’ve heard a lot of people say they developed a connection with the food, especially if you’re a hunter shooting your own meat or if you’re a gardener growing your own food. Is there a certain type of connection you get with the food? I feel like mostly America is not in touch with the food. Most of us just go to the store and buy it and there’s no connection there, but you’re actually growing it. Do you think there’s a certain connection or there’s got to be some type of almost like an endorphin release that you know you grew this, you know where exactly where it came from and you’re putting it on your own table. That’s got to be an amazing feeling.

    It definitely is in many ways. One of the most important ways is that it cuts out a big piece of our consumer society, which is that we go to a grocery store to buy our food. When you’re able to be independent in that way and have the opportunity to grow your own food, you realize that we don’t really need much in this life. We need good food, good water, a family, and our house. That’s the biggest piece, but it’s also the flavor. It makes you realize that when you buy stuff at the grocery store, it took weeks to get on your plate so the nutrition loss with that. You can taste that when you pick something and you eat it fresh out of the ground or fresh off the vine. It’s definitely for your taste buds and for your body. It’s like a different experience, whether or not it’s a placebo or not. Sometimes it’s like, “I don’t know if this really tastes better, but I think it does.” The biggest place to see that so clearly is with my eggs that I have from my chickens, because I know all the inputs that go into what they eat and so when I eat that egg and I crack that open, you can see the difference.

    You should definitely see the difference between a mass-produced egg and an organic egg. The yolk is a completely different color.

    The consistency in the flavor too, it’s amazing.

    Where can people find you on social media? Do you have a website?

    My Instagram is where it’s most active. The handle is just the farm name Coeur.Et.Sol. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and I have a website too, which is CoeurEtSol.farm.

    Chelsa, thank you for coming on. You’re a beautiful soul. I really appreciated you coming on and telling me what you’re all about.

    Thank you.

    Thank you so much.

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