Funky Fun Business Part III


I have been hooked on the idea of funky business because… it shows that anyone can do just about anything and earn a good living… while having fun.

So we are sharing stories about seemingly crazy, funky businesses that work!  See Funky Global Business and Funky Business II here.

Business does not have to be drab… hard work… or the same thing as everyone else’s business.

You really can do what you love as shown by this excerpt  from the August 27, 2009  New York Times magazine by Chirstine Muhlke entitled :  Field Reports: Losing the family farm is a familiar story. Getting it back less so.

This photo from the New York Times Magazine by David La Spina  shows Marty and Will Travis harvesting squash blossoms.

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The excerpt continues:  Though the Travises never set out to be farmers, in the five years since they started gathering wild ramps from a cousin’s woods — he had asked them to help get rid of the invasive weed — their Spence Farm has come to sell produce that is obscure or nearly extinct to Chicago’s best restaurants. In saving their central Illinois farm, they’ve managed to save some American crops too.

They sold more than 4,000 pounds of ramps that first spring. The next year they were selling to chefs whom they met through a farming nonprofit.  “We slowly went from gardening into full-scale farming, which is a whole different issue,” Kris, a trim, bright-eyed woman with cropped hair, told me. “When you start doing 1,500 squash blossoms a week, you’re not talking 10 plants.”

Chefs who want ramps and Galápagos tomatoes are not looking for the usual edible suspects. The Travises immediately caught on. “One of our passions is to find the new and exciting thing that you can’t get anywhere else,” Kris says. The couple scour seed catalogs and Seed Savers Exchange online to find unusual varieties like popping sorghum. They comb the woods and fields for things like green pine cones (which the chef at Tizi Melloul freezes and grates into butter) and papaw. They bag weeds, like purslane and stinging nettle, that other farmers spray. “Radish-seed pods — we sell the dickens out of them!”

The Travises’ corn-and-soybean-growing neighbors think they’re crazy to harvest such oddball crops. Yes, they have corn and beans, but neither will be made into fuel or feed. Take the Kickapoo bean. A distant relative sent Marty a package of seeds, asking if he grew the legume. It turns out that the chief of the Kickapoo tribe had given Marty’s fourth-great-grandfather the seeds when he settled the land, and they had been passed down through the generations. Now the Kickapoo bean is flourishing again on Spence Farm.

Their most-sought-after crop is white Iroquois corn, which they’ve helped bring back from near extinction.  This year, he says, he hopes to produce at least 1,000 pounds of oak-roasted, coarsely ground white cornmeal, which has a forthright sweet-corn flavor and a slight smokiness that has chefs across the country scrambling for Bayless’s leftovers.

Sitting on the now-solid porch of his pristinely rehabilitated farmhouse, Marty points out that his original goal was to share history, not live it.

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Ecuador offers small farming opportunities everywhere. Corn…

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Potatoes. These farmers use very steep terraced land.

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Blackberries are a big business… made into syrup and juice also and…

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sold at local markets.

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We love our farm and our horses… Lucy is a real Appaloosa and is the boss of the herd.

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Blaze is the oldest and clever one. If there is a hole in the fence, he’ll always find it… or make one.

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Our mallards come and go but…

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we could raise and sell them… along with vegetables in the greenhouse.

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and sunflowers, plus…

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plus

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Heritage apples we have all over the farm, and…

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eggs. The flock just keeps growing!

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Plus goose eggs can be turned decorative.

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If you can get them!

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Christmas trees are the biggest commercial crop in our county.  Here is our neighbor’s trees just over our fence line.

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We do not like what this growing does to the land so are looking at sustainable, value added timber instead…

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We have a lot of huge… old, virgin timber…

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that is dying due to a blight… so we can make something of this for our Blueridgecrafts business.

All can be sold at the farmers’ market in West Jefferson.

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Like the Travises above, we are not farmers… but we can have fun and add income to support our lifestyle… because we understand that with a funky business attitude… you can do anything you love.

Gary

Interested in writing and publishing to sell a micro business?  Learn about our Self Publishing course and how to save $597 here.



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