Professor’s home garden sprouts into 2 Chicks and a Farm success

Jan 12th, 2022

It seems a little cliché that a business called 2 Chicks and a Farm all started with a shopping trip—but it’s true. Jen Russomanno and her partner Kim Bryant were shopping for a store that focused on healthy food options near their home in Jefferson County, Tennessee. They were so unsatisfied they decided to start a small garden of their own a decade ago. The rest is history.

Now every person living in a 14-county area around Knoxville can go shopping on their phone or computer from the comfort of their home and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor thanks to the Market Wagon platform. For 2 Chicks and a Farm, Market Wagon means an easy and dependable source of income each and every week.

Jen and Kim’s garden began small back in 2012. But they quickly turned to traditional farmers markets to sell the surplus that they couldn’t eat.

Customers quickly fell in love with 2 Chicks and a Farm because of its affordability, sustainable farming practices and of course, that it was owned and run by two women. They also use all organic practices but have not yet become certified organic due to the cost of continued certification.

While Kim and farm manager Stacey focus on the day-to-day farm operations, Jen handles the business side of things while also working full time as an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Jen’s research interests focus on food access and affordability, which tie in perfectly with their farm’s purpose of providing healthy, affordable options to their community.

2 Chicks and a Farm prides itself on growing healthy, sustainable products. Jen and Kim do not use any synthetic fertilizers or non-organic pesticides or herbicides on their produce. Chickens are all pasture-raised, meaning they have room to forage and live healthy, happy lives.

2 Chicks and a Farm expanded to 18 acres of land in 2018. The new acreage includes four tunnels, allowing them to grow 365 days a year, a seed house in which to get their crops started and more than 150 chickens for egg production. But, don’t worry, even with the addition of poultry to the operation, there are no plans to change the name!

2 Chicks and a Farm was one of Market Wagon’s first vendors in the Knoxville market. Jen and Kim love working with Market Wagon because of its dependability and profitable infrastructure.

It’s one of the main reasons they gave up going to traditional farmers markets even when they reopened during the pandemic. Plus, they like having Saturdays to themselves and their family, including Kim’s two grandchildren who sometimes stop by to help pick a few vegetables too.

Having worked with CSAs in the past, Jen understands how much it takes to have a successful delivery service such as Market Wagon. Knowing how tricky figuring the system out can be, Jen tips her hat off to Market Wagon for building a business built for success. She’s thankful one delivery drop-off is all it takes to fulfill all customer orders for the week—customers who live as far away as Kingston, Gatlinburg, Greeneville and LaFollette.

If you want to do a little successful shopping from 2 Chicks and a Farm, the result of those unsuccessful shopping trips a decade ago, Jen says you can’t go wrong with any of their offerings on Market Wagon, but points to three specialties. You have to try the tasty eggs from the pasture-grazed chickens to get your day started off right. She also recommends the potatoes which are perfect for a hearty winter meal as well as the delicious sweet candy onions