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Kat the Farmer Farm
Kat the Farmer LLC

Kat the Farmer LLC, Kat Johnson

Title / Role: Owner
Location: Check, Virginia
katthefarmer.com
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My successes.

I launched my business, met my first-year goals, and have seen 50% growth into my second season. I have a suite of small farm-scale tools like three greenhouses, a truck, a walk-in cooler and a whole lot of really supportive customers who love salads and value the hard work I put in to make their salads the best they have ever had.

What do you do?

I am a salad-centric farm and food company. I specialize in salad crops grown under Certified Naturally Grown, and I make prepared salads for salad subscriptions along with a line of wholesome salad dressings to showcase local foods and show all Virginians why the world’s best salads are always locally grown. I am a one-woman operation at this phase, growing on a quarter acre with some space in greenhouses. I love salad, and I love growing salad. Handling, washing, and cooling greens properly put my product far above the grocery store options. Local greens last longer, are healthier and contribute to the local economy.

What inspired you to start your business?

After managing a couple of other local farms, I felt like it was the next step in my career, and I was eager to build a life and a job that reflected my convictions and could support a family.

What's special about your business?

I hear all the time from customers that they are blown away by how TINY my farm is and how MUCH I harvest from it. I think there is something special about maximizing your land while taking care of it too. I am constrained by space on my current farmette and would love some room to grow in the future, as well as develop a commercial kitchen nearby or on the farm.

What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

Making decisions in isolation is really intimidating, especially in a situation where I don't know what is 'normal' or what to expect before I experience it. I think having an experienced mentor to reflect back on my sound ideas and prompt me to question assumptions was what I was seeking.

How SCORE helped.

I worked with Bill to fill out the cash flow templates and figure out if a small farm income could support a loan and, if so, for how much. The templates allowed me to see at a glance what the maximum loan amount I would feel comfortable with was.

What's great about my mentor?

Sincere interest in seeing me reach my goals, do my best and anticipate the next phase of business life that is ahead of me, and seeding new ideas to prepare me for that next step.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Utilizing it before you launch is a key time when you are really making a lot of decisions and have the space to think critically about them. You'll be too busy soon to do it right again!

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Kat the Farmer
Kat the Farmer
My mentors
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William I Baldwin Jr.

With expertise in start ups, provides entrepreneurs with guidance on how to start a business from...

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1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
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Herndon, VA 20170
1-800-634-0245

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