COUPLE MARRIED TO THE FARMING LIFE
Renee Bounds says that perhaps her new husband didn’t marry the love of his life when they tied the knot a few months ago. “When we got married, you’d think the highlight would have been marrying his soul mate, right?” she jokes. “But, really, it was getting to go to Morgan County Seed Company in Missouri on our honeymoon that really made him happy.”
Renee says that Troy’s love of farming is a lifelong passion. Growing up in Rush Springs, Troy spent much of his childhood farming with his grandfather, and he has continued into adulthood. “Troy eats, drinks and sleeps farming,” she explains. “He’s the only person I know who gets excited about planting potatoes and spends his spare time researching how to best wash spinach. Farming really is his true love—sun up to sun down. That is what makes him the heart and soul of our farm.”
The couple, who married this past March, met two years ago on farmersonly.com, an online dating site dedicated to connecting singles interested in country living. For nearly 20 years, Troy had been working full-time jobs, doing “a little bit of everything” and farming on the side. While he grew enough produce to sell at local farmer’s markets, he yearned to turn farming into his full-time vocation. When he and Renee became a couple, they realized they could work together to make the dream a reality.
“We named our farm True Livin’ Farm because this really is Troy’s true living,” Renee explains. “For the past two years, he has been farming as a full-time job.” Renee, who grew up in Pauls Valley, works as a LPN and welcomed the challenge that farming has brought to her life. “If you would have asked me five years ago, I never thought I’d be doing what I am doing now,” she reminiscences. “Or that I would love it so much.”
While selling at the Oklahoma State University-OKC Farmers Market, Troy and Renee realized that a need existed for Community Supported Agriculture in the Oklahoma City metro. “People are looking for fresh, organic produce,” Troy explains. “We decided to buy some land in Washington and give it a try.” The couple purchased nine acres and began farming it with their five children, ages 9 to 16.
The Bounds offer a market-based CSA at the OSU-OKC market, as well as local delivery and pick up directly from the farm. In the CSA, customers pay for a “share” of the farm’s produce up front, and then use that credit to purchase produce of their choice throughout the year.
“Their credit is good all year, and they receive their produce at a discounted rate than our regular customers,” Renee says. “They can customize their baskets to include whatever they like.” Produce offerings vary throughout the year and include lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, parsnips, rutabagas, cantaloupes, melons, squash, cucumbers, okra, onions, sweet potatoes and more. All the produce is certified organic. In their first year, the CSA has served between 10-12 people, and the Bounds hope to increase participation in the coming year.
The CSA is only the beginning of plans for True Livin’ Farms. “We are working on getting a heated greenhouse on our Washington property,” Troy says. “In addition to offering farm-fresh eggs, we hope to add meat chickens in the near future.” They are growing a small apple orchard and working to offer pick-your-own thornless blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
Renee also plans to begin offering value-added products, including processed tomatoes for salsa and tomato sauces, compound butters, cookies and breads. “Our goal is for me to be able to quit nursing, put in a certified kitchen and work alongside Troy full time.”
Individuals interested in learning more about True Livin’ Farms are invited to meet Troy and Renee at a Field Learning Day in mid-June. “We want people to come see the farm and see what we are doing,” Troy offers. “We want our CSA members and potential members to come out and see what are about. We really want to service our community. This is where our kids go to school, this is where we are invested.”
Watch for details about the Field Learning Day and find more information at truelivinfarms.com or follow True Livin’ Farms on Facebook.