Jennifer Muck-Dietrich, Founder and owner of Little Egg Farm, LLC
I live on an 11 acre farm in Mid-Hudson Valley NY with my daughter, husband, 1 dog, 2 cats, 3 geese, 30 chickens and countless fish, frogs, bugs and bees.
I am an avid researcher because I always want to know what, why & how this beautiful world around us functions. My family always had a garden while I was growing up, and our mother taught us to explore our palettes with unique fruits and vegetables as a way to entice her four children to eat healthy.
My sophomore year in college was spent in Rome, Italy. Already a vegetarian for 3 years, it was there that I realized how growing conditions affect the taste and quality of seasonal produce. The rich, volcanic soil in Italy’s growing regions seems to bring out the best flavors of fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes so rich with umami that as a non-tomato eater, suddenly they can be eaten straight out of hand. Carrots sweeter than candy. Grapes in varieties not seen in the United States bursting with flavor and juices. Pure heaven. The food tasted alive.
Fast forward 15 years, I’m married to a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine who has been a vegerarian almost as long as I have and we are expecting a child. We live in the woods and are unable to grow our own vegetables because of the shade and the ever present white tailed deer. We decided once the child was born and it was time to think about school, we would relocate to a property we could garden in. Little did we know it was to be a farm.
Our healthy daughter has had a picture perfect life growing up on this small farm. She has been learning the importance of hard work, the heartache of losing a favorite hen to a hungry raccoon, the taste of eating a sweet carrot pulled straight from the soil (“just rub it off on your jeans, its clean” I say). She knows that watermelon does not grow in the winter in NY and that not all apples are perfect, red spheres. Don’t even try to offer her an iceberg lettuce salad.
When she was born, I chose to quit my job and stay at home to raise her. As someone who can not sit still, I started a small home farm business to bring in some income and keep from losing my mind from talking to a toddler all day. The idea really came about because my 5,000 square foot garden produces way more food than our little family can eat. At first I put out a card table with extras, and when I discovered my neighbors loved my produce, I incorporated and made it legit.
I am a Master Gardener, so I felt I was more than ready to handle growing at a much bigger amount. But you know how when you try to double a recipe it doesn’t quite turn out right? Farming, as opposed to gardening, is the same way. Thankfully, my husband has a good job because we needed the extra money to set up the infrastructure for this old farm that has sat fallow for 25 years. Many hours of researching and online classes with Cornell Cooperative Extension has helped me to build up a clientele for our free range, organic eggs, seasonal fruits and vegetables. I sell to our local food co-op and a cooperative CSA. Plus, I have customers who regularly come for eggs, honey and whatever I have harvested extra in the cooler.
I don’t consider myself a foodie. I feel those are people obsessed with how food can be manipulated. I prefer my food in its purest form – in season, as local as possible, at its peak of ripeness and simple to prepare.
Thank you so much for joining me in my journey!