Startup Stories: Four Female Retirees Develop Value-Added Product to Complement Their Farm Business

Startup Stories: Four Female Retirees Develop Value-Added Product to Complement Their Farm Business
It’s rare for all four of us to be in one place. Once a year, we gather for a photo opp.

Tell us about your product or service.
We have a small diversified farm on the SW Utah desert. We began growing vegetables and raising sheep in 2006, receiving our USDA Organic Certification in 2010. All the vegetables we grow are Certified Organic.

In 2009, we began raising goats, with an eye toward making cheese. After developing a business plan, we could see that it would be difficult to see a positive return on our investment.

Earlier this year, we began experimenting with a traditional Mexican recipe I had learned many years ago. It is called “Cajeta” in Mexico and was originally made in Celaya in the state of Guanajuato.

We have both Nubian and American Alpine goats, who provide a very sweet and pure tasting milk, which is the basis for this simple but very addicting sauce.

What inspired you to launch your business?
We believe that for a farm to be better insulated from the ups and downs of crop failures, price fluctuations, competitive pressures, and regulatory climate, every farm should produce at least one value-added product.

We thoroughly investigated cheese making, and found that it would be very difficult to earn a return on our investment.

Producing Traditional Mexican Cajeta will cost us about half what a cheese business would cost us. Also, there is little to no competition, The process of making the cajeta is very time-consuming, Just because there are recipes available, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to make an addictive product.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
With a large and growing Latino population, our Traditional Mexican Cajeta makes available a delectable sweet that most had to give up when moving north the USA.

Because we use minimally refined products, we present a sweet caramel sauce that has no high-fructose corn sugar in it. We use fresh goat milk, evaporated cane juice, Mexican Vanilla, Ceylon Cinnamon, Sea Salt, and baking soda.

What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
Our largest challenge has been to untangle the various state and federal regulations. Once that was done, we were able to turn our attention to our production requirements.

Rather than go the “home produced” cottage kitchen license, we have chosen to build a small commercial kitchen, This will allow us to sell our product wholesale as well as retail.

To create funds, we are running an Indegogo project, as well as creating a market for the product by giving away product at two local Farmer’s Markets in Cedar City, UT in exchange for donations.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve has provided a way for us to share our story, and to engage people with a real farmer. It’s often been said that farmers aren’t “Professional”. I can guarantee you that each and every farmer possesses skills that range from agronomist, to veterinarian, to marketer, to meteorologist, to investor, to seer. Add to that business skills that include business law. accounting, estate planning, and tax law.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
As the world population grows, those of us feeding the world have been declining. There has never been a better time to become your own boss. Today, we farmers are totally connected via social media. We use the latest technological advances in our businesses. With smart phones we can grow and sell our crops via one device.

There is another thing about farming, and that is the satisfaction gained when you produce something that people need (and want).

Company: DHA Family Farms aka Four Country Gals


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