It’s finally March and that can only mean one thing: it’s Women’s History Month! At FarmHer, we meet women everyday who are making history. Whether that’s through an interaction on social media, an in person meeting or even a podcast interview. To kick our favorite month off, we brought in one extraordinary FarmHer who is so much more than just a FarmHer. She’s an entrepreneur of over twenty small businesses in different industries, mother to four other FarmHers who all happen to be named Mary, wife to a rancher she works right alongside, teacher to many, creative content creator and more. I mean really, the list could keep going all day. Meet Mary of Five Marys Farms!
How Mary Diversifies Five Marys Farms
At this point, you’re probably wondering, how does she keep all of this going? How is there enough time in a day? How does her farm stay sustainable?
For Mary, the answer is quite simple. By diversifying her farm.
And that’s how Mary makes history everyday. By always diversifying her business, her family and her farm to make them stronger. And you can too! Let’s dive into her secrets!
But first a little FarmHer background: In 2020 our brand made the shift to a digital brand meaning our content and interaction with FarmHers is now mainly online. It’s refreshing to see such a large community of like minded women with the same common goals: loving the land, caring for the community and feeding the people.
Through this journey, we’ve met some pretty awesome FarmHers like Mary. With a whopping 250 thousand plus followers there’s a good chance you’ve seen her brand online too. Whether you have or not, you’re not going to want to miss this story (and podcast) and the opportunity Five Marys Farms presents to FarmHers and RanchHers like you.
Leaving Their Lifestyle for Agriculture
Okay, back to Mary. Both her and her husband’s roots in agriculture go back six generations in California to the days of the Gold Rush. Growing up in the suburbs of what is now Silicon Valley, Mary always felt a calling to the western lifestyle and way of life. When they met, they both were living the city life (Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit already running three businesses) with a sense of longing for a slower pace and family. At this point, they thought an agricultural business may be a possible hobby.
When Mary started her businesses, she was unaware of what an entrepreneur was and certainly didn’t know she could make running several businesses a career. But like the old saying says, if you build it they will come. And that’s exactly what she did during the rise of the Silicon Valley.
Next thing you know, they fell into the restaurant business. Food is an important topic to them because well, everyone has to eat. It slowly was bringing them back to their agricultural roots and felt like the right fit.
Fresh food was a HUGE part of their childhood living on family farms. They wanted to continue this tradition and teach other families how important fresh food truly is.
Five Marys Beef
Their first step to fresh, local food was beef.
Quickly after beginning the conversation with local beef producers, they realized how hard it was for ranches to do something like supply beef to a local business. From certifications to quality of beef, they continued to run into obstacles.
That’s when the idea sparked. Mary and her husband decided to raise the cattle for beef themselves! And Five Marys Farms was born.
What is Five Marys Farms?
Five Marys Farm is named after Mary and their four daughters all named Mary after grandmothers and aunts on both sides of the family. MaryFrances or “Francie” is 13, MaryMarjorie or “Maisie” is 11, MaryJane or “JJ” is 9 and MaryTeresa or “Tessa” is 8.
With the help of her brother in law who was already raising beef cattle, this opportunity seemed to be the answer to their prayers. Not only for their restaurant, but also to the longing they had to get back to agriculture. Because who doesn’t want to raise their five Marys in the dirt and sunshine on a ranch?!
After trial and error, Mary landed on how they were going to sell their beef.
They didn’t have the time to be traveling into towns for farmers market. It simply wasn’t making enough money to justify it. Besides, they had moved to the ranch and left their old life behind to be there raising cattle and children.
So what was their next step to make this all possible and become a viable first generation ranch?
The ranching methods and beliefs they use, from grazing rotations to slaughter, preserve and protect the land they live on and respect the animals they raise from birth until their “one bad day” sacrificing for the food on our plates.
As far as certifications go, they believe in actions, not labels. Their products reflect their beliefs in respecting their animals, raising them with the utmost care and comfort and in feeding their customers only what they feed their family – the highest quality meats raised as naturally and humanely as possible.
Now, they are raising Black Angus cattle, Navajo-Churro sheep, Berkshire hogs and a wide variety of laying hens from start to finish. And they do every step of the way not because they want to but because they have to in order to stay sustainable on their farm.
The Many Businesses of Five Marys Farms
Since then, they have become butchers, bought a restaurant (Five Marys Burger House), created wine, whiskey, and spice blends, opened a ranch school during the pandemic, wrote a cookbook, and help others start their businesses through entrepreneurial, small business classes taught by them.
They take diversification to a whole different level and that is where they see their success and keep their brand sustainable.
Because their business was brought to life by trail and error, Mary’s entrepreneurial soul inspires her to help others grow their small businesses too. She wants to see others thrive and help them through the hard times by sharing their tips and tricks. That’s why five years ago, she created M5 Entrepreneurs Academy and Community.
Enroll in M5 Entrepreneurs Academy and Community
And most of the people enrolled in her classes are women! Women taking the initiative to either become an entrepreneur and/or diversify their family farm in order to stay profitable just like she did. She teaches small businesses from scratch how to be successful. She teaches other you don’t have to be creative. You don’t have to be tech savvy. You simply have to work hard and always be ready to make changes to your business in order to stay sustainable.
For her, that is the most rewarding part of her job. Empowering others to feel empowered through her community!
You Can Do It!
In fact, her favorite tagline is “You can do it!”. She truly believes to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be opportunistic and scrappy. You have to figure how to do all the things yourself in order to grow your business. Because having multiple tools in your arsenal will only make you stronger!
Mary is a perfect woman to highlight during Women’s History Month because she not only makes history every day but teaches others including her daughters how to make history in their own way. She inspires others to find what they’re passionate about and let it grow.
And just like Mary, you too can and already do make history everyday in the agriculture industry! Showing up as a woman or a diverse individual making a difference is groundbreaking. Thank you for following along on our journey and thank you, Mary, for everything you do for women in agriculture, small business owners and others!