Here to tell us about their journey is Marissa Paykos!
Their story starts:
just a few years ago, on Whippoorwill Way in Hardeeville, South Carolina. An unlikely pair, Marissa Paykos and James Young, then neighbors, realized they shared so much more than just a street address. They shared a love for all things simple, all things real, all things dictated by mother nature. Their first dates were spent picking 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes that would later be canned, camping trips to Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State Parks and sitting around many fires on many starry nights talking about the things that made them feel alive while Whippoorwills sang their spring time songs in the night.
Tell us a little about yourself.
- Jersey girl born and raised
- relocated after graduating hs
- relocated to SC
- University of South Carolina
- background in education
kind of a whirlwind
- lived overseas
- taught english in Japan and Italy
- came back in a little over a year
- move up to Rhode Island
- lived with my sister
Decided I can’t take the cold
- came back south
started in Savannah GA
worked in the Hospitality Industry
completely abandoned education
tried to find out who I am
Lived in Savannah
Fast forward a few years
- met my current husband
- he and I got together
- had a baby
now what do we want to do
always a vegetarian
always because of animal rights
not a crazy super passionate activist.
Just a personal thing for myself but when I got pregnant I had a lot of issues
Drs needed me to eat more protein
abandoned the vegetariansm
unfortunately liked eating meat
told my husband if I’m gonna do this I’m gonna do it right
found a couple of acres outside Savannah
- completely rural
- very pregnant
- getting the land ready
- slowly started now
- she’s just over 2
For the last 2 plus years getting this land
we now have our farm
- different vegetables
- meat rabbits
- lots and lots of veggies
Are you a millennial?
Oh sure!I found you on instagram right?
I think I had a commented on another podcaster’s Facebook page and you found our FB page….
really active from social media
aside from my farm
I work a regular full time job
I’m a digital account executive for Savannah morning news and I do all the marketing and advertising for their digital platform.
How do you do all that and take care of the farm and your daughter??
I’m not sure, it just happens.
See and people try to tell me millennials are lazy and I totally disagree.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
if your not familiar
It’s a very common misconception that NJ is all industrial but it is the garden state for a reason because we have a summer that’s not super humid but it does get really cold in the winter
In the summer time you can have wonderful gardens
jersey corn famous
My dad was an AP Bio teacher
From the minute I can remember we were always outside.
- my dad was always teaching us
he and I
I have a sister but she was never really into the gardening
- rent a roto tiller
- pick out our plants and we would read and garden
I have pictures and he would make a mud puddle for me and I would roll around a hog and I’d be covered in mud ~ it was great!
Garden Fun with Dad
We would go out to the garden and pick out our veggies
so special to me
I had horses growing up
so I was always around animals always outside
Natural the first time I met my husband was when he was actually my neighbor
he was gardening
I was like wow you have such a green thumb!
he said he loved me right then because I told him what a green thumb he had!
We have that in common and My dad being such an influencer in my love for
growing your own food
not doing anything with meat growing up but garden was so an important part of my childhood
I lived in NJ when I first got out of college, I always remember my parents had cousins in NJ, and we went to Sparta Glen to visit my cousins I can still remember playing with my brother in the creek and we still talk about that trip!
field working where I’m always working with the public
and it’s very clear that your not from here
it’s hard to break the idea of being from the North
even though I’ve been in the south for 10+ years
ideas about northerners
My husband’s been here since the 60’s and they still consider him an outsider I will always be considered an outsider, the kids are always like why do you talk so much. You don’t have much of a southern drawl, you’d think you’d pick that up.
I try to keep very close to my roots
my mom still lives
I’m the only one not in NJ
- My dad passed away five years ago.
- he loved coming to South Carolina
- I’m very much like my Father
I can get away from the cold but Mom and Dad will still visit me
That’s kind of how I ended up in South Carolina.
dad would always come and visit
- husband was born and raised south south south GA
- he couldn’t get any more southern if he tried
he always makes me laugh of the things he says and the way he says them
I’ll be like can you repeat that? What did you say?
How did you learn how to garden organically?
yeah, I mean we never used any chemicals
I don’t even remember us using miracle grow
it was always
sometimes we would get manure form the horses and mix that in.
Our soil was good healthy soil.
We didn’t have ~ in NJ IDK if there’s a ton of issues with bugs
Here in South Carolina, it gets hot pretty quickly
- never a time that the bugs die off
- in NJ you are able to, probably get some problems but not like we get with bugs and critters that we get in the south
I talked to Mandy Gerth who talked about how much easier it is to grow here then in Indiana where you get super heat and bugs.
- tomatoes we get horned worms
for the most part
- it’s little tiny infestations that you don’t see it happening until it’s kind of taken over everything.
We had a problem this year, Mike brought in this head of broccoli the other day and it was like it was moving! But I went down there and it’s funny it seems like it’s only on that one plant. I have had listeners talk about leaving a plant as a sacrifice, so I’m thinking about just leaving it down there.
I certainly don’t know what plants would be best. We don’t have a lot to hav ea sacrificial plant.
- the other thing
- we grow in such
- when we grow our tomatoes plants
- for our first crop, we have 60 plants
Your gonna get some that are successful and some that are not but we still got a ton of tomatoes
I still got tomatoes from the plants that had the infestation
This is the great thing about having a diverse farm is the tomatoes I wasn’t able to eat myself went to the chickens or the hogs
So there is not very much waste on the farm in general
For people who don’t have chickens it’s a bit different but
I probably gave to the animals throughout that harvest probably 4-5 buckets of rotting tomatoes from bugs
We do so many in different areas on the land find what works best…
We didn’t give that head of broccoli to the chickens because we are in fire pre-evacuation mode, so I took the chickens to town but I finally got them because after 4-5 days I couldn’t leave them in that little cage…
but it reminds me of this story about my dad, calls us from the train station and says you have to come pick me up because here he is with these 2 giant bags of elephant manure from the circus at Madison Square Garden. He could talk to anyone. I lost my dad just about when you did in 2013.
Tell us about something that grew well this year on Whipporwill Farms SC.
So we had cucumbers that did excellent
- zucchini that did great
- jalepeno peppers always grow really well
that did really well
a lot of our crops did great
Im still getting cucumbers
I’m about to do my
- fall garden
- winter garden
south the weather is so good
started with my planting and seedlings
back in March
so I’ve been going at it for a while
finishing off in the spring
let the chickens into the broccoli patch habbits
everyone had a field day
How big is your guys’ Whipporwill Farm?
- which is not big by any means
- we utilize it really well
We don’t have a big house, we actually live in an RV
- big deck off the back of the RV
- guest house for visitors we built
everything is paddock
- chicken areas
- pond for drainage we use as our swimming hole
There is still more land that we can do things with
I do a lot of raised beds for the gardening I really like that because it also gives me the opportunity to move them if I can
- some areas in the ground we’ll also plant
- use as much of the property as we can
I’m confused do you live in Savannah or South Carolina?
We live in South Carolina and commute to Savannah, GA.
- We don’t have a CSA
- started selling publicly
- advertising through fb and fb group
- people I know through work
vegetables that we have
haven’t done anything official yet
if I don’t get to butcher chickens
don’t get to pick my plants
Gives myself the freedom to market
- when I want
- how I want
- sell when I’m ready
as we are growing and getting more established I’m looking more for a regular schedule with it…
You’re just amazing, how you do all this, plus your posts are so cool, they suck you in and your captions match what is going on but you do have that digital background…
Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?
Our winter garden is normally lame
- mustard greens and
I finally have a schedule down of all the possibilities of all the things you can grow without a greenhouse
pumped to utilize the list and diversify the products I’m bringing
husband is incredible handy
- he’s done all the work
- he does that
We have a lot of projects that we’re gonna be starting
- new deck off the guest house connecting to the RV deck
in the next year we want to
I’m hoping to do like an agecation… ag education
In October we’re gonna have an offering where 10 people can come and they can see how the chickens are
- selected for butchering
- plucked and cleaned
- take a chicken home
Pay a certain amount of money and they get to experience and go home with a fresh chicken
- couple can come
- maybe 2 kids
- get their eggs
- kind of camping experience
- be in the guest house
- cooking over a campfire
- do some butchering if they like
3 pig getting ready to butchered
Maybe an event maybe not see the actually slaughtering of the pig but the
- meat being processed
- choose cuts they like
Open the farm up to people who are interested in learning more about how this type of life works as well as kids who have no idea where there food comes from
My sister came down to visit
- so crazy
- came to the farm for the week
best thing they could do and run free like little animals
I wanted to do some butchering
my sister was like “No, No, No, I don’t want them to see that”
But my nephew who is 7 was all about butchering
- we killed the chicken
- pluck the feathers
- we looked at the heart and lungs and eyeballs
I think it was great for him!
my sister would think
I think people would
love to bring
offering up our guest house
stay for a weekend
they don’t have help on the farm if they want to they can just sit and read
What is your stay going to be like?
- expecting a quiet get away
- learn about animals and plants
- class on a weekend
- teach about starting seedlings
- different gardening techniques
- lacking in today’s society
One of the big things is that you used to be a vegetarian so there is probably a lot of compassion in your butchering and your probably the person to do this and one of my most downloaded episodes is Kim Romeril who talks about cruelty free living.
Glacier Park Model
And I love that because millions of people come to Glacier National Park this summer and I always think that people come and one person wants to go do this monster 15 mile back country hike and the other person wants to do a short hike and sit and read at the lodge all day and there should be some way for people to connect and do what they like on a trip.
Hands on Science Education
Like with your sister with the 3 kids, do all 3 want to learn about butchering probably not but for that one boy, who knows he might become a scientist because you touched him in that way.
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
This has been the rainiest summer we have had
- don’t ever remember it as rainy as it is
- it’s felt like 90 days or 90 nights of rain or more
- it’s actually sunny right now but I guarantee it will rain
it’s great for a lot of reasons
- made it difficult for building structures we want to work on
- hog pen has been underwater with areas of dry space
- It’s big 100 by 150 feet
- you can imagine how much mud and muck is there
Because I don’t use a green house focus everything outside
kind of planting my seedlings
- putting them out
- water them
- getting these downpours
- seedlings getting washed out of the cups
- spent a lot of time and energy
- planting these little seedlings
yes I got 60 tomatoes which was great but I had cucumbers
trying to start 60 cucumber seedlings and I lost every single one
that would have been for the second go around for the cukes
carrots were the same way
once I got past the March, April time period and started to plan for my July and Aug seedlings
all of my work was washed away
Blessings in disguise
water is excellent
doing a little of a different style
- keep them on the deck under the porch
- water them
- let them get sun
- but not too much sun
It’s hard because it rains a lot and then gets hot
battle with the climate this summer
right now I don’t have many crops
People are like what vegetables do you have now?
Im like I don’t really have any?
- all these new plants to produce
- there never should have been a break in my crops
- it happens
That’s the beauty of not having a CSA don’t have to stress out
- as I’m figuring out the Southern Climate and growing more plants
- my husband helps
- never done it on the scale that we’re trying to do it on
I so appreciate this, my husband this is our first year we can get our mini-farm off the ground. He has grown so much more then any other year, and I feel so much pressure, why aren’t you growing more food? Why aren’t you selling more food? Why don’t you go to market?
Lower Valley Farm Success
And I look at these people near us Jay and Mandy Gerth and I see their market stand and think how do they grow so much food? I look at how much my husband’s done and how much he’s producing. I used to ask about harvest and I feel like things come on at once. I can see it already carrots, green beans it’s coming any day and I’m about to go back to school so…
And of course I’m wondering about this schedule you mention how do you come up with that?
Organization and Planning
I’m pretty organized I have to be
always been an organizer and planner
But I don’t have an Excel spreadsheet?
I basically have some things written down
IDK what your listeners – what your feed stores like
We have feed and seeds everywhere
They are run by older farmers
Wealth of information
The other beautiful thing about my job
- account executive in sales
- all I do is cold call
- no one particular
- so I speak to everyone
So if I have the opportunity to go into a Seed and Feed and connect with someone on a level that is more personal
gain some knowledge for myself
Savannah is a big city but you drive 30 minutes and there’s nothing there
- farms a lot of ag
- businesses that service these
- local feed stores
- local nurseries
internet is great
But because I connect and talk to people
- market our company that I work for in my career
- great to be able to connect with these older generation
I do have a little farm
- people think that’s interesting
- what they’ve found successful
- one of them that gives you
- want to promote their seed sales
list just like a word document that they print and leave in their store and it has the dates
March through April what should you plant
- take that list
- talk to different people
- wealth of info
growing his own plants for a long time
My page on instagram
“Old school knowledge meets new school ideas on sustainability, gardening and animal husbandry geared for both consumption and pleasure.”
we’ve wanted to plow a portion of this garden
tractor would get stuck
more of a headache
making more beds
shoulda coulda woulda
do what feels comfortable
important in anything that you do
tell me that I need to do something I’m gonna do the opposite
mom when she found out I was pregnant
she loves my life
oh the bugs?!
she comes down and go inside and take breaks
loves coming to visit or lifestyle with our daughter
3 years ago, she would have told me, you’re riding down a very slippery slope
She loves our lifestyle
- you have a plan
- life happens
- you can only do what you can do
- you have to the energy
- can’t let people dictate what your style is
It’s great to say you should always have something in your beds and they should never be bare
- life is life
- you can only do what you can do
- continue to do what you can
I say I just want to do better today then I did yesterday
Is your plan eventually to make a living off your farm and quit your day jobs?
There’s goals and then there’s dreams
the goal would be to do this to the point where I can consider living my dream
- if I can
- live your dream
- seeing how scared you are
- how scared are you take that jump
we can do this
farming is really hard
- you’ll never make a million dollars it is what it is but
- can we sustain?
- can we be happy?
- how afraid to let go of everything else and really do this
That’s the dream
work toward our goals
hopefully we can achieve to the point where our dreams are becoming a reality
John Lee Dumas was saying that $70k is about the level to keep people happy more then that is too stressful to work and less then that is uncomfortable some study or something.
Start to qualify yourself for that more expensive lifestyle
at $70k doing really good living within our means
desire for an expensive lifestyle
It’s scary right now
we don’t have like a big
- savings account
- nest egg
- goes right back into a building a structure
- backhoe we need to rent
- this or that
our property has grown substantially
At the end of the day if something were to happen
We’ve been so focused on growing our business
- hoard all our money
- so it’s scary
- making improvements
- hoping for the best
- work towards your goals
- is this gonna pay off in the end where a dream becomes a reality
Enjoy the journey
I always tell people cause I’m on like job 53… you never know when things are gonna change, when we got laid off at head start… my mom was baffled how can I work 40 hours a week and not have health insurance. You just never know our center closed… things can happen, it’s better to work towards your dreams and enjoy the journey. Who knows we’re in fire season and our whole place could burn up.
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Let’s Get To the Root of Things!
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?
I can’t stand weeding
IDK why I can’t stand
I have to force myself to weed
I don’t patches and beds that get to the point where I can’t even see the strawberries
It’s the off season can’t even see the plants anymore
IDK why I can’t stand that maybe because it was always a chore growing up, Marissa you need to weed the garden I was like aw man… like vacuuming the pool.
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?
I love harvesting I love harvesting with my daughter. She comes out and picks tomatoes.
she just turned two!
Learning her colors
just picking them all
- picks the red ones
- picks the green ones
she eats any color and it doesn’t matter.
My husband gets annoyed, I’m like dude, just chill… we have plenty of tomatoes, if she gets a tummy ache we’ll deal with it later…
She’s great she helps with the cucumbers
- she does the dirty work, if we have old tomatoes, I’m like please go give these to the chickens
- she helps!
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
best gardening advice
- if it was ever somebody said something that stopped me in my tracks
- just get out there and you never know what you’re gonna get?
- well try it
- we never had success with growing pumpkins and watermelons
- trying it different
buy the seeds and buy the plants
it can get expensive
at the end of the day it’s the learning curve is huge
- just doing it
- just try it
- if you have a questions about something you can’t find an answer for
- just try it
what always works
WE have a really hard time with pumpkins and one year Mike got these watermelon seeds from Russia or something and they were cute and tasty, tiny but good! IDK if he has them this year.
If we plant watermelons it doesn’t work but what works for us is to
- spit seeds in the yard
- always find they produce
- I have a watermelon growing in one of my tomato patches
I’m not gonna rip it up
- taking over the patch
- had a hurricane
- growing out of our deck
- it was spared in the picture
- please pray for our watermelon
put some seeds around.
That’s a good tip to hear, seems like all the watermelons here anymore are the seedless kind you can’t even find a watermelon with seeds here !
watermelons are huge here
- every old farmer pickup loaded down with pickup
- try to sell em for about $8 work em down for about $4
- you can get them fresh from the field in abundance here.
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be? I know my broad fork is loaded ready to go!
I was looking at this questions trying to think about
- my gardening gloves
I don’t use a ton of tools
I use a lot of raised beds
- mostly I just use my hands
maybe a spade
but I think my gardening gloves are my prized possession.
because I work all the time
my nails are always disgusting
I put rubber surgical gloves
- under leather mechanic gloves
to keep my scrubbing at the end of the night at a minimum
A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
Fried zucchini flowers
- stuff with goat cheese
- toss in an egg with you want
- roll in flour
- sear them in olive oil
- until their crispy
- I like that more then zucchini themselves
Everything is better with cheese
- goat cheese
- we jar our tomatoes
- not all of them but a lot of them
- tomato sauce for pasta!
So, IDK somebody told me once that when you’re picking the zucchini flowers you have to get the male flowers and not the female flowers, I can’t see the difference. How do you tell a difference between the flowers. She told me don’t pick the females I think.
Idk anything about males and females but I do know when the flowers get on the very high stem there are some flowers that are on very short stems near the base of the plant and then there are some that grow up towards the leaves.
I always harvested those
If they are on a long stem their not gonna turn into a zucchini
- snip those
- pollen portion out of it
- hard to digest
- everybody’s different
- doesn’t add anything for me so I take that out
doesn’t get more complicated
We have so many flowers this year, just monster flowers.
I love goat cheese
- could do fresh mozzarella
- not too many things
- cant’ get goat cheese in the stores by us
we live int humidly
hoop cheddar cheese
Kraft singles that have plastic on them.
whenever I’m in Savannah I want something special I’ll grab a thing of goat cheese.
interesting that unless you travel 40 minutes to a grocery store in a more populated area you’re not gonna see the really good stuff.
I haven’t really tried goat cheese, my friend Marisa talked a lot about of goat cheese
I never met a cheese I didn’t like
everything goes better with cheese
A favorite internet resource?
I listen to a lot of podcasts.
I love this podcast
google and different with our birds
theres a lot of Facebook groups that you can join
people that have chickens and ducks
ask them a question and they’ll give you an answer
if you’re lost on where to look on something that’s going on, you can post a picture few people will give you
Facebook groups are the best! IDK how people can survive without Facebook.
Sometimes can be frustrating you can hear things that are ridiculous.
If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?
I’m working on my website right now so that is coming.
- I just recently registered as an LLC
- got my tax id #
- really tracking what’s happening with my finances
- opened a separate bank account for Farm stuff
- How I collect all my sales. Venmo for collecting cash
millennial seeming ap
- use emojis
- fun and it’s free
- most people who are buying from me have that or they have cash
transfer directly to my bank account
I can pay people from Venmo
Have a system
- where’s the income
- how am I depositing it
- jar we were putting our egg chicken rabbit money in
fun social posts
photography something I always enjoyed
- stock images
- don’t quite have an eye
- weather doesn’t agree
putting out the energy
making it happen
I use Facebook $50/month advertising
- chicken for sale
join my list I send email blasts
lots of different things you can do
put the energy into building an email list
You’re so ahead of us we don’t even have an egg jar.
quite a few chickens almost a 100 chickens
Good thing you have all that set up. We went to this farm business workshop and this woman from the Farm bank said you have to have 3 years of taxes that claim farm business even if you don’t have an income yet.
Tractors are helpful. We have some neighbors who come but it’s definitely on our list.
I keep going back to Jay Cummings and Mandy Gerth from Lower Valley Farm but she talks about a walking tractor…
if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?
So, Gosh, what a complex questions
I think first of all how can we all get on the same page
America is so divided in our beliefs and what’s happening
first of all we need to figure out how to get on the same page
There is climate change
- it’s affecting all of us
- so very sad
Until we all as a nation and as a world together can get on the same page nothing’s going to change
I would love to see a change in the education system
- towards more hands on in the field learning
- offering agricational opportunities for children
learn more about you environment
- where your food comes from
- chicken coop waste to grow your plants
Everybody taking a smaller step
I know I have a lot of friends who are activists more then me
One lives in Miami, Florida and another in California
They are so down in the dumps because of what’s happening
You just have to do what you can do
everybody chooses to use
- reusable bags at the grocery store
- choosing to go paperless
- eat sustainable meat
not gonna have any luck in selling in Savannah because chicken’s $1.66/lb
Yes, $1.66/lb for boneless chicken breast that’s excellent
if that’s what you want to put into your body
if that’s what you want but you can pay just over $2 more you’re getting
- humanely range
- humanely butchered
- free range pastured chicken
- somebody like that would say something
what it’s like on a factory farm
maybe if they saw
first time experience they would say that’s not what I want
opening up our minds to
maybe the things that we’ve been doing for the last hundred years is not the way to do things. It’s time to do something else
taking care of
I’ve been kind of going through the data, my listeners have a definite theme of caring about the environment and cruelty free living etc.
Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
So, I talk a lot about fear and how scared to take that step
In my instagram
picture of my daughter and her her nannie’s two kids being the shortest of one.
They are looking out
4 miles down the road
An old man looking out into the cow field
They really want to go see the cows
everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear
How scared are you to take that leap. If you’re worried you’re not going to succeed in a small garden
not to do thing
everybody says that you should
if you don’t start living your own dreams you’re gonna be working for someone making their dreams a reality.
living for somebody else
- if you don’t have a goal or a dream
- what is your dream or goal
- start taking steps
When you work the 9-5 job feel like your in the corporate hustle you can at least feel fulfilled outside of your regular job because youre living a life that makes you really proud.
JLD who taught me how to podcast says all of the magic is outside your comfort zone.
How do we connect with you?
beautiful bird that comes out at night in the spring and fall you know that cold weather is over when the Whippoorwill comes out.
shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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