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Kempl Farm

Name: Cindy Kempl

Location: Ruffin, SC 

Type of Business:
U-Pick Vegetable Produce Farm

What does your business do?
We grow as organically as possible, vegetables that will help low income families to have a fresher and more diverse option, than those sitting on a shelf at the local IGA.

When and why did you start the biz?
We started gardening with 2 acres because we love to grow our own food. Extra was given to families or to seniors who couldn't afford to buy fresh vegetables. we decided we couldn't grow enough to feed so many with only 2 acres, so in April of 2016, we rented the 11 acre field behind the house.

How Many People are in your Company?

Where's your office?
My office space is at a roll top desk in the middle of our living room, of an old, 2 section farm house built in 1835.

What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The toughest part of the business is not only the lack of money, but the weather! You plant too early and dwarf your crop. You plant to late, it doesn't mature in enough time. Just because you plant in February one year, does not mean you can plant in February the next year.

What's the most fun part?
Watching the plants grow is exciting and so is the harvest! But there is nothing like boiling up your own corn, or biting into your own pickles, or tasting your own spices that you made from dehydrating your own peppers! That first bite of something you grew from a seed, that burst of flavor, that POW in your mouth! That is the pure excitement!

Anything you would have done differently?
I may have spent more time hoeing, to get rid of the weeds: but when the drought comes, you need everything you can, to protect the plants. So it is a catch 22. To hoe once a week despite the heat, or let it go because of the heat, to protect it.

What's next on the horizon for your biz?
We planted a winter crop for the first time, so excited to see how that will affect the farm this year. But in January, we are plowing the field for the first time in 20 years. It has been disced so plowing will be the next mile marker. We begin planting in February.

What advice do you have for others?
If you truly love to grow your own food, than do it! Dig into the dirt, plant that seed or the plant. Talk to it, visit it, spend time with it! There will those who tease you about the time you spend "playing in the dirt", but it will be you who has the best food! There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who work the farm and those who pay to support the farm. I would rather be the one who works it!

How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I am hoping that there will be others who may be in farming or some form of Ag biz, to maybe network with. I would like to inspire a young woman who decides, "I want to be a lady farmer. After all, if Cindy Kempl, an older woman, can do it, so can I".

School (where, still in school, degree)?
Online courses at South University. No degree.

Prior jobs or business?
Server at Waffle House. Assistant manager of Shoney's. A cook, a salad prep person. I have worked since 1975.

Favorite Food?
A fresh grown tomato!

Contact Info:
Cindy Kempl
578 Memory Drive
Ruffin, SC 29475


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