Imagine buying a farm with your family and turning it into a thriving, diversified business that allows you to do the work that you truly care about… Sounds pretty dreamy, right?
For the Kilpatrick family, hardwork and a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve enabled them to turn that dream into a reality. One that has taken them on an adventure of discovery while allowing them to pursue their passion for organic farming and all this represents.
The Farm on Central is no ordinary farm, you see. It’s a place where the local community comes together to learn, explore and fuel their hunger for fresh, ‘beyond organic’ food. That is, food that’s one hundred percent free from GMOs, pesticides, fungicides, microplastics and synthetic herbicides.
There’s more, too. These guys run cooking classes, U-pick events, gardening lessons, an online shop and even a food box subscription service. Impressive.
Read on to hear all about this brilliant business directly from its founding husband-and-wife team, Savannah and Michael Kilpatrick. Get ready to feel inspired 😌.
✅ Key Takeaways
Hiring a great team of like-minded people is one of the best ways to expand your business’s potential and grow its vision.
🧑🏫Turning something you do anyway (like making salsa from leftover tomatoes!) into a class can be an excellent way to diversify a farm.
🎟️Using a ticketing platform that allows you to schedule multiple events can help things run a *lot* more smoothly when you encounter certain logistical challenges – like a lack of parking.
Ticket Tailor: First things first, take us back to the beginning! How did The Farm on Central come about?
Savannah & Michael: We bought the farm in the summer of 2020. We weren’t exactly sure what it would turn into, but we knew we wanted a farm where people could see how their food grows, and to educate the local community.
It was a crazy time at the beginning (I mean, we bought a bus and turned it into a farm shop! 🤣) – but peoples joy and enthusiasm fueled us.
Ticket Tailor: Tell us a bit about your philosophy as a farm – how do your values inform your work?
Savannah & Michael: We believe that how we farm matters because it affects the food we grow and the soil we steward for generations to come. We use beyond organic, regenerative principles, making sure that we’re always paying attention to soil health.
Ultimately, we believe that people matter, and how we feed ourselves and interact with our neighbours it’s paramount in how we make choices.
Ticket Tailor: How’s your journey been so far – biggest achievements and moments?
Savannah & Michael: Hiring excellent people has been a huge part of our progress! Even when people move on to other endeavours, we can clearly see how our team has helped us build our vision.
Developing an infrastructure and implementing some really key parts of the farm – like greenhouses, a store, and even overlooked aspects like storage – were big milestones for us.
And, since the weather around here is always so unpredictable, setting up irrigation and hoophouses – the things that help us keep growing no matter the weather – was a big step that helped us get to where we are today.
Ticket Tailor: Tell us a bit about the events you run – when did you realise it would make sense to incorporate these into your offering?
Savannah & Michael: The thing about growing food and then selling it, is that often people don’t know what to do with it! So even simple things like Facebook Lives demonstrating how to cut up a Napa cabbage has been helpful to people.
When we had an abundance of tomatoes and peppers, it made sense to offer classes on canning salsa. It’s something I’m doing in my kitchen already, so creating an event and inviting people into my home to watch was an obvious next step.
I’ve also been baking a lot of sourdough, so when we asked our local community (via our farm’s Facebook page) if they’d also like classes on that, it was met with a lot of enthusiasm.
Part of our farm is devoted to u-pick strawberries, so we also run regular u-pick events using Ticket Tailor’s handy timeslot feature.
Ticket Tailor: How do you go about getting the word out about your events?
Savannah & Michael: We have a very active Facebook page, and so most of our marketing is through that stream. We aren’t shy in sharing other peoples experiences either!
Ticket Tailor: Do you have any words of advice for those looking to diversify their farm with events or classes?
Savannah & Michael: Don’t be afraid of inviting people into your area of expertise! Michael has done several beginning gardener classes that are very well attended.
Lean into the thing you love. If you make soaps or herbal tinctures, invite people in to learn that process. You could even invite someone to use your space to teach, with you sharing the profits if you’re doing the marketing and legwork.
Think about what people will need. When I teach our sourdough classes, I make sure our attendees have instructions and starter, two of the most important parts of making sourdough. I also offer support after the class via a Facebook group!
Ticket Tailor: We have to ask – what made you choose Ticket Tailor as your ticketing partner? 😀Are there any features that have been particularly useful?
Savannah & Michael: One of the main challenges for our farm events has been our lack of parking. So finding a software that made it easy to schedule multiple events was crucial! We really love being able to sell time slots for our u-pick events, as this has helped keep the patches calm, and our check out less chaotic.
It’s also been easy to refund folks if a strawberry u-pick slot gets rained out, or we need to notify people on a waiting list that the next sourdough class is live!
Ticket Tailor has really great customer support too – and always gets back to us quickly if we have any issues.
Ticket Tailor: That’s great to hear! Happy to be of service 😀. Are there any areas of ticketing you’ve found challenging or any learnings you’ve made along the way?
Savannah & Michael: The biggest challenge has been figuring out what kinds of events will sell. The sourdough classes always sell out. Our gardening classes are hit or miss. For example, our berry class did well and container gardening class sold out, but the tomato class wasn’t a big hit even at a lower price point. One thing we found is that classes always sell better if our attendees get to take something home with them.
Ticket Tailor: We’re sure any readers who are thinking of starting their own class will be glad of that nugget of wisdom! Finally, what does the future hold for your farm and events?
Savannah & Michael: We moved our in person sourdough classes online and now have sourdoughstartup.com where we’ve welcomed a few thousand folks to take our free workshop as well as take our digital masterclass. We still sell out of our in person classes very quickly! We’ll continue to use Ticket Tailor for our strawberry season and in-person events as our farm business gets busier as well. We’ve already tucked in over 12,000 strawberry plants for next year’s season!
Ticket Tailor: Sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Best of luck with the farm!
To find out all about the Farm on Central, just head here >
And to find out how Ticket Tailor can help you with tons of great ticketing features to support your farm events and event marketing, just head here >