Growing up in a family absorbed in agriculture, it’s no surprise Becky Barnes decided to continue that passion by becoming a produce farmer. In her eighth year farming, Becky is now the proud owner of Dangling Carrot farm.
The name “Dangling Carrot” is admiringly unique; people often wonder about its meaning.
“I was a Sociology and English Literature major at Wittenberg University. During school, I studied a philosopher who had an analogy called the ‘carrot and stick,’” Becky explained. “The philosophy focuses on an image of a dangling carrot tied to the stick in front of a donkey. The meaning behind the image is that the donkey has to keep on working to get the carrot; it’s a constant process. I related that to my work as a farmer. I will have to continuously work to reach my goals. Nothing is given to you; you have to strive for happiness.”
Becky and her sister-in-law, Jayne Barnes, co-owner of Honeyrun Farm, originally got started in produce farming together.
“We talked about doing it in college and dove in once we finished our degrees,” Becky said. “We moved out west and volunteered at a farm. Once we gained some experience, we moved back home and started our businesses. We started small, only selling our products locally.”
Becky now farms 10 acres of land in Williamsport, Ohio. She branched off from Honeyrun Farm once it became more focused on its bee products. Although Becky now has her own business, she hasn’t strayed far from her brother and sister-in-law; Dangling Carrot is located just down the road from Honeyrun Farm. Becky jokingly referred to her home and farm as being inside the “Barnes’ compound area” because both of her brothers, parents and numerous cousins live within a minute of each other.
Like most farmers, Becky’s day to day tasks are seasonal. She starts her farm tasks at sunrise, and spends most mornings fulfilling deliveries, picking produce and weeding. In the afternoons, she does tractor work, which includes planting and cultivating. She does most of her work herself, accompanied only by a few part-time workers.
“I like my small farm because it keeps it manageable without needing much assistance,” Becky said.
The Ohio Fresh Foods Corridor in Pickaway County is a prime location for Becky because it has great soil that allows her to grow her exceptional produce, and also offers much more inside and outside the community.
“The Ohio Fresh Foods Corridor helps farmers and Pickaway County showcase its agricultural strength. It’s a great place for the community to come together and have fun supporting local food producers,” she said.
There is a wide array of produce at Dangling Carrot, such as – beets, garlic, onions, greens, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, peppers, egg plants, carrots, kale, radishes, zucchini, squash and more. She has improved her facilities by adding a cooler room that increased her productivity while preserving the freshness of her produce.
Becky’s produce is 60 percent retail and 40 percent wholesale. What isn’t sold at farm markets and through deliveries is sold to restaurants and grocery stores in Columbus. Dangling Carrot will become certified organic by June of 2015.
You can find Becky and her Dangling Carrot produce from May to October at two different farm markets – Clintonville Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon; and at Worthington Farm Market from 8 a.m.-noon.