Such and Such Farm, owned and operated by married duo Dave Blum and Autumn Sij in De Soto, Missouri, is on a mission of sustainability and education. The couple, who had no prior farming experience, launched the farm in 2013.
“We eventually decided to quit our jobs because we fell in love with farming and agriculture so much, and we both have a really strong entrepreneurial spirit, especially my husband,” Sij says. “Why are we just spending all of our energy to build someone else’s dream when we have dreams, too?”
The farm started with just six chickens and a small garden. The couple began selling to local chefs and added dairy goats and maple syrup along the way. COVID-19, however, pushed the farm in a new direction.
“Because of COVID, we had to change our entire business practice,” Sij says. “At that time, 70% of our sales were to restaurants, and then in 2020, that changed drastically. We basically had to change our business plan overnight.”
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They pivoted to targeting individual consumers and selling at farmers markets. The farm also works with a community-supported agriculture system that includes produce, meat, a product from partner FarmSpirit and a recipe from local chefs, like Josh Galliano and Sam Mitchell.
“As you go along with the CSA, you have your own little cookbook of chef recipes using local products, which is great,” she says.
Another important element for the farm’s survival has been private events and agro-tourism.
“People can come out and be together and eat delicious food but also feel safe about it, too, because it’s an outdoors setting,” she says.
They’ve partnered with Ryan McDonald and Ashley Batiste of FarmSpirit to put on dinners at the farm. Future plans include hosting educational events over the winter and inviting guests to participate in maple syrup collection. For information on upcoming events, visit the farm’s website.
Even with these changes, sustainability has been the constant guide post for Blum and Sij.
“We tried to make everything work together as one big sustainable unit,” Sij says. “One example is that we have a decent-sized pond at a higher elevation from our garden. So we have an energy-free system that we can irrigate from the pond if we need to, which uses that fresh water and is also a good natural fertilizer.”
Another important element of their environment-friendly mission has been eliminating waste. They turn excess lard from the pigs and extra herbs from the garden into handcrafted soaps.
In addition to educating visitors to their farm, Sij hopes that the duo can serve as inspiration for other dreamers.
“I hope that people can see that anybody can do this,” she says. “Take a leap of faith, and go for what you want. You don’t have to be a fifth generation farmer to have a sustainable, homesteading life.”
Such and Such Farm, suchandsuchfarm.com