My husband, Gary, and I left our landscaping business in Dallas, Texas, in order to return to our family farm. Our major goal was to make the farm self-sustaining. When our tomato crop out produced our needs, I decided to sell them to grocery stores. At first I simply tried the small grocery stores around our area, but there were a lot of farmers selling fresh tomatoes to those stores. I got the idea of taking the tomatoes to Kansas City and sell our ripe, freshly picked tomatoes to Hen House Markets. That was 10 years ago.
Today, we raise both cattle and chickens, plus we own and operate a USDA federally inspected processing plant. These years have certainly been a learning experience. First of all, I didn't realize what small, family farms were up against until I set out to sell our tomatoes. You have to initially find a market for your product. Then, if you are fortunate enough to locate a store willing to carry the products, they have to let people know that the product is local and better tasting and healthier. I guess what really surprised us all was how much money it takes to do that.
Most people I talked with said small family farms couldn't succeed in the general market place because of the time and expense to market their products. But I was lucky. I met the people at Hen House Markets, and they understood what I wanted to do. The people at Hen House believed in supporting small, independent family farms. They understood that without a market for selling family farm products, these farms can't survive. So we all worked together to bring the All-Natural Beef to the Hen House stores. That was the beginning of the All-Natural Beef Co-op.
Today our Co-op is comprised of 27 family farms in Kansas and Missouri who raise beef cattle according to very strict guidelines. In fact we can trace every piece of meat we sell back to its source. In addition, we are in the process of becoming USDA Process Verified. That means that the USDA has reviewed the procedures we've developed to control the quality of our products, and will give us the authority to state that our products are Process Verified. We're very proud of this since only seven other meat companies in the United States have achieved this status.
But beef isn't the only thing we do now. When we realized that there were other products our customers wanted and other farmers who needed to market their products, we decided to create a brand name to encompass all of the products. That's how we came up with Good Natured Family Farms. Today our brand name appears on our beef, chickens, eggs, milk, sausage, Farmhouse cheese, and honey. All of those products come from small family farms surrounding the Kansas City area. Every time you purchase one of our products, a portion of your dollars go to keep those farms alive.
We feel that Good Natured Family Farms is the connection between you and our farmers. Without your purchases, all our efforts would be in vain. So in addition to saying welcome, I'd also like to say thank you–from our farmers and their families and from my family and me, we wish you a Good Earth, Good Food and a Good Life.