It’s always a treat to learn the ways in which our members first found, stumbled upon, or re-discovered ASAN. For Allison and Kirk Creel of Blue Rooster Farms, they rediscovered the organization after reading an ASAN newsletter. In early summer 2019, they were discussing how to be more involved in the ag community, In addition they were ready to get their name out and share about their farm.
Ironically, the day they were discussing all of this, an ASAN newsletter email showed up. We had shared a request for farms, chefs, and volunteers for our 5th Annual Graze: Birmingham. Allison said, “Hey honey you wanted to get involved and get our name out? Here’s your chance.”
So it was rather serendipitous, but meant to be!
How long have you been a member of ASAN?
Off and on for 10 years
What do you love about being part of ASAN / part of the food movement in Alabama?
Helping others become more aware of the seasonal availability of local agricultural products.
What frustrates or challenges you about the work you do, and/or the broader context in which you do it? What keeps you up at night?
Educating consumers about the complexity of non-conventional farming and cottage industry. What keeps us up at night is the ability to maintain a sustainable farm income.
What excites you about the future of ASAN?
The potential for outreach
Describe your farm – where is it, how big is it, what do you raise, who helps manage it with you?
We are located in Shelby County, near Chelsea. Currently, we are growing on about an acre, although we can expand to four acres and have lots of plants to discover on the property that we design with.
What made you want to be a farmer?
Allison: I want to teach children that produce does not magically appear on the shelves at the grocery store. Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk. Tomatoes are green before they are red.
Kirk: At first I recognized I had resources available that others did not have in land, water, and tools. Now I realize this was more of a spiritual calling.
What’s your favorite crop to grow? Where do you really shine / what is your specialty?
Allison: Whatever is blooming at the moment is my favorite, but that will change when something new blooms tomorrow – whether it is flower or vegetable.
Kirk: I have a fascination with melons. I am on the search for the perfect sweetness and juiciness in a melon. To farm for me is intuitive in nature. I was meant to do this.
How do you reach your customers, and grow your business?
Online store, farm blog, word of mouth
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given re farming?
This is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t compare yourself to every Facebook post or Instagram picture you see.
What tool, piece of equipment, etc., could you not live without?
Allison: Felco pruners and snips
Kirk: Ford 1600 tractor
What about being a farmer do you love the most? What keeps you going?
Being outside. Experiencing nature. Knowing we are doing something important. Going out every day and seeing what is new in the garden and how it has changed.
What are frustrating issues that make you want to quit?
Farming is 24/7, 365. You are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve. And sometimes you are under the curve. You must make time for yourself and family away from the farm.
What could ASAN be doing to better support your efforts and the efforts of others like you?
We would like to see ASAN continue to foster mentoring between veteran and beginning farmers.