ROSY BUCK FARM – Interview with Holly & Randy Buck
Back in summer 2019, I had the opportunity to meet with Randy and Holly Buck, who are the creators of Rosy Buck Farm in Missouri. I had a blast getting to ask them questions about how they began it all and farming in Missouri. Thank you times a million! 🙏🏼😄
Unfortunately, there were audio issues I did not realize until after taping, and after much trying, I was unable to fix them. I sincerely apologize to Rosy Buck Farm. It was a very fun interview, so I have still posted it in three parts on my YouTube channel – Be An Outsider🌻
LINKS TO INTERVIEW VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE:
Part 1 – https://youtu.be/9jQ758UnHgg
I hope you enjoy! I have also included the interview transcription below in written format, so you can read over the entire conversation. I also included some pictures I took the day at the farm & Rosy Buck Farm’s social media links for you to follow along & support their journey!
FOLLOW & SUPPORT ROSY BUCK FARM VIA:
Facebook: Rosy Buck Farm
I hope you enjoy the following interview! Thank you again to Holly & Randy Buck for taking the time to meet with me & show me their wonderful farm & family! ❤️
PART 1 VIDEO)
Interviewer: Well, thank you, guys, for meeting with me.
Holly: Yes, of course.
Interviewer: And what’s your farm’s name?
Holly: Rosy Buck Farm
Interviewer: And how did you come up with that name actually?
Holly: My middle name is Rose and last name is Buck.
Interviewer: Ahhh I see, that works! I love your logo also!
Holly: That was all him. *pointing at Randy*
Interviewer: Cool! The first question is I kind of wanted to know your origin story, like how did you get here?
Randy: So we met on a farm, I guess we both kinds of knew that we wanted to farm at some point. We weren’t sure if it was going to be a lifestyle, or just a thing we would try but, and then pretty much our whole relationship has been traveling on farms and farming.
Holly: We met on a farm in the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington state on Orcas Island. And then we did long distance for a couple of years. And that was kind of why we did our first WWOOFing trip, which was our like 18 farms in one year around the country, because we just wanted to see if it is what we wanted to do. Because we were like, ‘we like it’ but we wanted to learn what there was to learn before trying it for real. And then the following year we just worked on one farm the whole season and that was kind of the same thing. Okay, now we’ve seen a lot of operations, now we want it to be like how one operation does beginning to end. And then we traveled internationally and at that point, staying on farms was more of just a cheap way to travel. I mean, we still wanted to learn but were more like picking farms more in place we wanted to go.
Randy: Right, learning how to grow in Indonesia didn’t really help us here, but it was fun!
Interviewer: *Laughter* Ya, I think I saw on your website you guys went to New Zealand, you were in France at one point…
Holly: Yup, and Turkey… We started in Hawaii, which isn’t international, but is far away and exciting.
Interviewer: Ya, it’s ‘off the mainland’ they say.
Holly: Right, so yes, so after all that, we still wanted to do it. And we felt like we kind of had a decent idea of what we were doing.
Interviewer: So it was kind of like a lifestyle that you grew up around and that’s kind of what triggered the farming idea?
Holly: I think so, yes. Like we both kind of had it in our brains. Well, and you worked on an organic farm in high school (talking to Randy).
Randy: That’s true.
Holly: And I grew up, we just had like a garden and chicken, so it wasn’t like a farm, but we had a little bit of that. But I think what attracted both of us to it is, well, especially me, we both really like food, and like good food is really expensive unless you produce it yourself.
Holly: And also, we like the freedom that this lifestyle gives us, like we get to be together and with our kids all day every day, which is huge. There’s no 401K, but there’s family time, so you know. And also just like the flexibility you know, if we want to we can just take a day and go to the river, whatever. So then we went and lived in Massachusetts for a year and farmed there. And while we were farming on our farm, we were also working on another organic farm.
And there’s like 2 acres, but they have like a seventy member CSA and they’ve been going for like the ’70s… 80’s?
Randy: Ya… 80’s, yup.
Interviewer: So, well established…
Holly: Right, right, so they’re like pioneers and all that kind. So anyway, so that kind of gave us like a lens of like how they were doing stuff.
Randy: And they’re really into the soil, like building the soil… It was good place to learn.
Holly: And we always knew we wanted to be no-till, because I mean that’s kind of getting to be more of a thing like now, of how important the soil health is and how tilling kind of breaks that up.
Actually, that farm that we worked at in Massachusetts, he wrote a paper about like how soils’ carbon sequestration through the soil can help fix global warming. Like if all the farms and all the ranches, were to do no-till and carbon sequestration practices, the parts per million would be down to where they need to be in five years.
Holly: Which, obviously won’t happen… But so any little acre that we could do without tilling, so we do a lot of mulching and cover cropping.
So the cover cropping obviously is actively pulling it in because it’s like the plants putting it back into its roots. Even just the mulching… Like the tilling, the tilling is just bringing it back to the surface and then the microorganisms die and it gets back into the air. So even just mulching, without tilling, keeps it in the ground.
Holly: So we have a broadfork, you know a broadfork?
Interview: No *shakes head*
Holly: It’s kind of like a pitchfork, but it’s like 40 inches wide and it just has 6 tines down, so you can just like poke it down and *makes moving motion back and forth*… And we just and we do that for aeration.
And then like if a bed have gotten like, well like our beds are now, *laughing* like if they are super overgrown with weeds, we have to do a little… Like Randy goes at it with a hoe. But as long as we can stay on top of it and keep it mulched, we don’t have to do that and we can just pull it apart and transplant in or plant stuff in.
And we started with like terrible, depleted, hay-field soil and now it’s pretty good! But it’s taken a lot of compost and manure and mulching and…
Randy: Elbow grease… *laughter*
Holly: *Laughter* Ya… Really intensive building it up.
And so I think for the next place we go it might just buy a bunch of compost, just to get it like jumpstarted, because now we have a mortgage to pay…
Interviewer: Ya, compost is killer. You can totally see the difference!
Holly: Right, ya! So we will probably buy in good stuff, just to make sure we have like at least some beds that will produce next year.
Randy: Take out that variable.
Interviewer: Ya I mean that will probably be worth it! At least for the first year.
Holly: Yes, I think definitely, yes.
Randy: Ya, our first year here, we were just like let’s plant some plants and see how they do with no help, and they got that big *makes a very small ratio with his fingers* and then stopped. *laughter* Alright.
Holly: And they just stopped growing! Ya, I was like oooooookay…. *laughter*
Holly: It was like kale and beets and stuff. And it was like they were miniature plants. They like grew they’re leaves and stuff… *showing how small they were with fingers*
Randy: Ya, they didn’t die, they just stayed that big, all year.
Holly: Ya they like bolted, and then were that big *shows small size with fingers*… Trying to do the whole little lifecycle, but they just couldn’t get any bigger.
Interviewer: That’s like the funniest thing about farming is the trial and error, I guess.
Holly & Randy: *Nodding* Yes.
(PART 2 VIDEO)
Interviewer: After traveling to all these different farms, why did you choose Missouri?
Holly: Well, I’m from here and most of my family is still here. Also, it has some of the cheapest farmland. In Massachusetts, it’s like prohibitively expensive to buy our own land.
Randy: And the soil is not much better, so…. Or worse…
Holly: And there’s rocks too, but some places there’s rocks too. But it was important to me to stay close to my family and then, it just kind of worked out that there was cheaper farmland here.
Interviewer: You said the growing season in Missouri, you said markets start in April?
Holly: Yeah, and I mean then most people just have like spinach and radishes and stuff like that. I mean, a lot of people do have hoop houses or row covers or stuff that they grow in. And we don’t really do, again, because we were leasing land, we don’t want to build a hoop house and then…
Holly: Ya. But we still usually have early stuff like that, like arugula, just stuff like that. It depends–
Randy: We’re the last people to have tomatoes, so people still buy tomatoes. [laughter]
Holly: But our first free date is April 15th and this year we actually did have one right around there, but usually like peas and stuff start growing in March, all the hardy stuff starts growing in March and then comes up is ready by markets in April.
Interviewer: Do you guys have a favorite plant that you grow?
Randy: I’m a big fan of ground cherries.
Interviewer: Ground cherries, ya? Those are good.
Randy: Ya. Radish Pods– those are growing. Those are spicy.
Interviewer: What is Radish Pod?
Randy: It’s like regular Radish except they don’t grow to be full, they bolt like immediately, and then you eat all the seed pods because they’re nice and tender, but it tastes just like a radish, but it’s more convenient to eat.
Interviewer: That’s so interesting, I haven’t heard that.
Holly: Yes. We get a variety of pods from– it’s an heirloom called a Rat’s Tail Radishes, they don’t make a bulb, but all radishes you can eat the seed pods but often they’re just kind of tough and stringy, but if you ever let a radish bolt, you should try them.
So that’s the fun thing, we try to have different things to market. And that’s one thing that a lot of people really like and are always asking is, ‘When are you going to have more of those?’
And then, we just started doing Shiitake logs and those aren’t like hugely productive, but we’ve been getting– and we also do wild foraging of mushrooms, we have those in the market.
Interviewer: Really?! Cool!
Holly: I mean, there’s not a ton and it’s not very dependable. But my dad is like really into mushrooms and so he’ll tell us, ‘Oh, the chanterelles are coming up, like you should go look for them,’ or whatever.
Interviewer: That’s so cool, I’d love to get into that!
Holly: Yes. There’s a few that were really comfortable harvesting and, we know what they look like, but like most of the mushrooms we see in the woods, we have no idea and we ask my dad.[Laughter]
But mushrooms are a fun thing to have, but we also grow some really good melons. And I always like those sweet corn too.
Randy: We wanted to grow okra too. I remember when we met, we both didn’t like okra, now we eat it all the time. Ya, roasted okra is delicious.
Holly: Yes, it is a good one, but ya I think ground cherry is always one of our favorites. Oh, and then we did do the yacon, it was really good, but we just never, it’s this tuber from the Andes that kind of tastes like an apple mixed with water chestnut. But you can have raw or you can roast it. We grew it last year and it did pretty good, and then we never replanted the tuber that you’re supposed to replant because this spring was crazy, but sometime in the future I would like to try growing it again, like a different thing.
Interviewer: Ya, definitely!
Randy: Every year we try to grow something new, something different.
Interviewer: I love it. I love the new stuff. We do the same thing! (Talking about Moonlight Acres). We’re always growing something weird, have you seen Schwarzer Runder radishes?
Holly & Randy: No. *Laugher* I can’t even say it.
Interviewer: It’s like a German winter radish and ‘Schwarzer Runder’ apparently means black underneath because the bulb is actually like jet black, but the inside is white.
Holly: Yes, I’ve seen those in the seed catalogs.
Interviewer: Ya, and they’re very, very spicy. And in the wintertime, actually last year, it was one of the last things that we grow and the bulbs would get like this huge, massive. *making reference with hands*
Holly: Wow! That is crazy.
Interviewer: What do you both like about the farming lifestyle?
Holly: I like the moments that farming affords us, like in the summer when we’re out late at night and then you just get to see the sunset & moonrise at the same time, or something like that, and you can just like take a moment. Or just every night coming up and seeing that sunset, just being able to catch those moments and just like–
Randy: When there’s lightning in the distance and lightning bugs all around you, that’s a good time.
Holly: Yes, the lightning bugs in the spring is fun.
Randy: Ya, I like watching animals. We would just stop and watch the green heron walking around or, there’s always moments like that, or cicadas. It’s watching wildlife.
Holly: Oh yes. I think I’m more about just kind of more about the whole, because like the other morning was really misty and I was going out with the kids and you couldn’t see the hills because it was so misty and it was just so cool and beautiful and I was just like loving, just looking around at that and like hanging out in the misty morning.
Ya, so I think just since we get to be outside every day, we get to catch those moments that you miss if you’re in an office.
Interviewer: Ya, that most people don’t get to see. Those are the good times.
(PART 3 VIDEO)
Interviewer: One question I usually ask is this, where have you explored on the planet? We kind of went over like, New Zealand, you said France, Indonesia…
Holly: Yes, Turkey, Bali, yep. We’re going to have a longer trip, but then I got pregnant with her *taps endless child on the head*, so we had to cut the trip short. *Laughter*
Interviewer: [*Laughter*] It happens.
Holly: But first we just wanted to explore more around the states, which is why we did a trip in the States first. And then international travel was like the last big thing we wanted to do before we had kids. It ended up being the last thing we did. [*Laughter*]
Interview: [*Laughter*] Gotcha!
Holly: Because we both did a little bit, but not much. But I think it was good that we had several wandering years because then by the time we got pregnant I was like, ‘I need did not travel for a while,’ – just like settle in, be here for a while.
Randy: But I feel like farming is really exploring one plot really intensely, really learning every little mini ecosystem here. Now it’s different but fun, ya.
Holly: Yes. Just kind of intimately getting to know a piece of land.
Interviewer: I like that… “Intimately getting to know a piece of land.”
What do you guys do in order to help protect the natural world? I mean, you guys are already doing it by farming…[*Laughter*]
Randy: It’s a big part of why we do what we do.
Holly: Right! Ya, I mean like pollinators get a lot of buzz these days and so…
Randy: Nice pun!
Holly: Oh thanks! [Laughter]
And obviously pesticides is one of the big threats to them. I mean, that’s one good thing that the weeds are good for, and just all the open space in between is just giving all those critters plenty of space to just be.
Interviewer: Do you have problems with the bugs in the circles? (they plant in concentric circles)
Holly: Not too much! I mean we get like squash bugs sometimes, but not terribly…
Randy: Blister beetles are always eat our huckleberries, for some reason.
Holly: Oh ya, blister beetles… And then I just like, go on a rampage again.
Holly: Ya know… I mean like mostly overall we pretty try to be in balance, but then if there’s, to be able to just defoliate all our huckleberries, I’m just going to kill them all.
Interviewer: Ya, I mean, come on!
Holly: That’s what you have to do sometimes… And I still think that’s better than obviously a wide range of pesticides, because you only kill the bugs that you don’t like.
Interviewer: Exactly. I agree.
Holly: I think mostly just like keeping habitat. I mean obviously we’re altering it somewhat, but there–
Interviewer: But you’re working more in harmony with land
Holly: Right. And keeping habitat for the little turtles and stuff, because that isn’t always there in big monocrops.
Interviewer: *Nodding* So, what do you believe that others can do in order to help protect the natural world, in their day to day life?
Holly: I think shopping at the farmer’s market is a big one.[*Laughter*]
Interviewer: Yes! [*Laughter*]
Holly: Well one, because there’s not as much packaging. I mean some people have some type of packaging, but overall it’s a lot less in the grocery store. And also you’re often supporting local organic people, which again has more habitat and more–
Interview: Helping the health of the Earth.
Randy: There’s a crazy amount of fossil fuel calories per food calorie in regular food production. It’s insane, so…
Holly: Right! Yes, it’s like 10 to one or something…
Randy: Ya, it’s like really ridiculous.
Holly: So having local stuff, you’re not using as many fossil fuels to get it to customers.
Interviewer: I completely agree. Farmer’s markets! Let’s all go to the farmers’ markets! *talking into camera*
Yes, so how would people support you? Do you have social media? Do you have–?
Holly: Yeah, we’re on Facebook and Instagram as Rosy Buck Farm.
And we also do this thing where people can remotely buy a share from us and then we donate it to a food pantry, but we can do that in any amount. They can just get $10 and we’ll get $10 worth through food pantry or something like that.
Because the one struggle for us has always been the whole, we just think everyone should be able to have organic food. But we have to charge kind of high prices and we’re still barely making a go of it, so like that conundrum. This is the most solution is that people who live out of state will buy a share from us and then we donate it and then they get the food and they’ll get paid for donating it.
Interviewer: That’s awesome!
Holly: Then also feel like it’s kind of nice too because it’s a little more flexible, like with our CSA, they get one tomato, one bag of greens, and this many peppers every week, but the food pantry is just like, here’s 20 pounds of tomatoes or whatever we have a lot of, we can give to them. That’s been a really nice way for us to minimize loss in our crops and so anyone can do that remotely. And you’ll also just following us, then keeping up with us is always good.
Interviewer: And you’re at… because I met you at Wildwood farmer’s market… What other farmer’s markets do you do?
Holly: We’re also a Schlafly Farmers Market in Maplewood, Missouri every Wednesday from 4 to 7. And then we do the Labbadie Point Brewery Farmers Market on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30.
Interviewer: Then they’re usually from like April to October you said?
Holly: Yes, pretty much.
Interviewer: Cool, yay! Awesome! Congratulations on your new farm you just bought!
Holly & Randy: Thank you.
Interviewer: Do you have like a vision of how you want to expand Rosy Buck Farm in the future? Or are you just kind of…
Holly: Fruit and nut trees!
Interviewer: Fruit and nut trees! Yay!
Interviewer: Perennials! Easy, well… less intensive things.
Holly: Right, like once we get them established, hopefully they can just come. Yeah. I don’t think we really want to get– it seems it’s hard to do both animals and… I don’t think we would want to get into animals for profit. We might have some, just for us.
Randy: Ya, just for family.
Holly: But yes I think we want to stay with the produce, but just also do more berries, we want to get Hardy Kiwis – we were just talking about that, yeah.
Interviewer: Hardy Kiwis? … What’s the difference?
Holly: They kind of taste the same, but they’re small, they’re like grape size and you can eat the skin and the skin isn’t fuzzy. And we ran into them on some at the farms we went to, and I was just looking it up and there are some that can grow here. Anyway, I think we’re going to get some of those for our new place.
Interviewer: Hardy Kiwi, I have to look those up too. I’m learning all new stuff!
Well, I don’t think I have any more questions for you guys, but thank you so much or the interview! I’ll definitely put the links to all of your social media accounts below the video.