Jumping through the hoops

by Derek Schmitt

“Don’t let all of the hoops scare you off. Just jump through them and accomplish what you want.” Ann Trudel, owner of Ann’s Raspberry Farm, said this at the 2014 Young Ag Professionals Conference during a break out session. That really stuck with us because at the time we were still searching for some niche and trying to make our show pig operation work. There were tons of obstacles that seemed to deter us from pursuing any of the crazy ideas we had running in our minds.

For example, we enjoy making jams to eat at home and give as gifts. The more we made the more we were told we should sell it. But when you do that you need proper labeling and weights, and once that’s accomplished when and where will I sell them? A farmers market of course! But then that needs an application, insurance, more paperwork, etc… Because we enjoy making jams, we thought of them as a new adventure to potentially add to our family income. We jumped through a lot of small hoops, but now we sell several varieties of jams at the farmers market and continue to have customers wanting more of our Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam, Dandelion Jelly, and our Blue-Strawberry Jam, just to name a few.

As young farmers, y’all are well aware of the amount of hoops that need jumped through to pursue any adventure or crazy idea you may have. No matter the amount of hoops, big or small, don’t let them stop you. Any time I get a crazy idea, the next thought is the struggle it will take, but then Ann’s comment comes back to us and encourages us to keep jumping.


Derek Schmitt is a Fairfield County farmer raising show hogs and heirloom vegetables marketed at the Pickerington Farmer’s Market. He also serves as Fairfield County Farm Bureau president. This blog is part of Derek and his wife Emily’s turn as featured editors of the Growing Our Generation eletter.