I had a customer ask, "How did ARNKA Acres start? And why that name?" Good questions!
That probably would have made for a great first blog post. But instead it's a good topic for my second one. :)
First, the short question. ARNKA stands for the first initial in all of our names: Andy, Rachel, Nate, Kaity, and Aliza. Yep, she goes by Izzy and ruined the acronym, but we love her anyway. We named our farm ARNKA Acres and, when we started the farm business, the name seemed to fit.
As far as how ARNKA started? That's a bit of a tricky one to answer. If you want the shorter/beginning of the CSA version (that also includes some fun facts about me and Andy), visit our About Us web page.
To know how ARNKA started, you need a bit of background.
When Farmer Andy and I bought our first house, I didn't want to move to the country. But the house was in our price range (AKA cheap), so I loyally followed my hubby to an acreage. My grandparents, the only people I knew who lived on a farm, had a garden so I decided that's what country-folk did. That first garden was way too big and I grew just as many weeds as produce. However, I was hooked. I planted veggies and melons for my family each summer we lived in that house.
Farmer Andy's job took us away from the acreage and big garden. Because I enjoy creative crafts and Kaity and Izzy were girly-girls when they were younger, I started making hairbows for them. My friends wanted me to make hairbows for their daughters. Eventually that led to TuLula, my hairbow business. It was fun for awhile, but honestly, it was never a good fit for me.
When Andy's job changed again, we moved back to the country as soon as we could. This farm had a chicken coop, so that meant we needed chickens as well as a big garden. My passion for being outside was renewed and I began to resent the time I had to be inside making little girl hairbows. Plus, Kaity and Izzy roamed the farm freely and putting cute accessories on them seemed pointless.
I told Andy, "I wish I could make money doing something I love."
His response, "Why can't you?"
So ended TuLula. But, ARNKA Acres as we know it now, didn't come right away.
It started with a bigger garden to sell produce at the farmers' market. Then I met my neighbor and her amazing goats. After cuddling her newborn babies, I decided I needed some. We brought Raina and Romulus home with us and I couldn't wait until the day I could milk! Having my own raw milk and cheese turned out to be much tastier and fun than I ever imagined!
I frequently got phone calls and emails from people asking to buy goat cheese. I looked into being licensed to sell it, but in the end, wasn't something we chose to pursue. But the idea of a business I could do while outside was born.
It's like a light bulb went on. I looked forward to working in my garden. My farmers' market customers raved about the taste of our veggies. I loved spending time with my customers. The CSA model was a perfect fit. Ours was to be different than the standard CSA though; we would include eggs and cheese along with fresh produce.
Somehow along the way we ended up with more goats. And then some teddy bear sheep. And then a pony. And mini donkeys. And more chickens...LOTS more chickens. And turkeys. And a pot belly pig. And then another pony. And even more chickens. And finally two cows.
Technically only the chickens, goats, and cow would be considered part of our ARNKA business, but anyone who has been to our Farm will tell you this place wouldn't be the same without the animals. Sometimes I think people join our CSA for our delicious tasting veggies, but they stay members because they enjoy their weekly escape to the Farm. I know the time spent chatting with customers as we watch the kiddos pet the animals is my favorite part of farming.
P.S. Go visit the About Us page to read more fun facts about your Farmers.