O’BRIEN FAM­ILY TO START FARM

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dick­er­son McDon­ald County Press rdick­er­son@nwadg.com

Kasey O’Brien of An­der­son is a home­school mom, home­maker and blog­ger who is start­ing her own fresh-cut flower busi­ness with the help of her fam­ily.

Kasey and her hus­band, Jared, were both born and raised in An­der­son, where they make their home with their three chil­dren, Dakota, 9, Jake, 7, and Finn­ley, 6. Kasey writes a blog called “O’Brien Out­post” at Obrien out­post.com.

She said, “The main rea­son I started home­school­ing was to fol­low my chil­dren’s in­ter­ests and teach them some life skills and give them more time to learn small busi­ness skills and get prac­tice and ex­pe­ri­ence. The flower farm stemmed or­gan­i­cally from do­ing just that.”

She had been asked to con­trib­ute to the Wild and Free Home­school Com­mu­nity, writ­ing pieces for a mag­a­zine that gives home­school moms ideas and en­cour­age­ment, she said. She and the chil­dren were at the lo­cal farm­ers mar­ket work­ing on a piece when she no­ticed there was not a very large se­lec­tion of flow­ers from the lo­cal grow­ers. Thus the idea for a flower farm was born.

“I thought this was a way we could of­fer some­thing to peo­ple, use our land to grow flow­ers, teach our kids about small busi­ness on a small scale,” she said. “We want to of­fer lo­cal flower lovers a more nat­u­ral se­lec­tion of state­ment blooms. A unique state­ment flower like dahlias, tulips, pe­onies. We also want our flow­ers to be a re­minder of our O’Brien Out­post motto, which is ‘Liv­ing for the Most.’”

She said she en­cour­ages peo­ple through her blog to “live for the most” in their fam­i­lies and their homes.

“We only have a cer­tain amount of time to make the most of life, so I hope the flow­ers are a re­minder of that.”

Kasey O’Brien An­der­son Flower Farmer

“I want this small busi­ness to be an ex­ten­sion of that,” she said, “by pro­vid­ing a prod­uct that peo­ple can bring into their home and be re­minded of liv­ing for the most.”

“We only have a cer­tain amount of time to make the most of life, so I hope the flow­ers are a re­minder of that,” she said.

Her fa­ther, Keith Peck, is help­ing the fam­ily with the flower farm. He has a back­ground in agri­cul­ture and is pas­sion­ate about flower and veg­etable gar­den­ing, Kasey said.

“The kids re­ally love help­ing him in the gar­den. He is in­still­ing rich knowl­edge and mem­o­ries with them in this process,” she said.

“Dakota has al­ways shown an in­ter­est in flow­ers and help­ing for­age and cut flow­ers for our home be­cause we both share an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the beauty of them,” she said. “She’s also a very hard worker and ea­ger to learn about earn­ing her own money.”

Jake and Finn­ley are also in­volved in the fam­ily busi­ness, but Kasey is keep­ing an eye on their in­ter­ests to pos­si­bly start their own small busi­nesses.

The fam­ily has 20 acres in An­der­son. Kasey said Jared al­ways wanted to find a way to use their prop­erty for profit. She said she was never knowl­edge­able about or in­ter­ested in en­trepreneur­ship un­til all the pieces started fall­ing in place.

“It made sense that all of this col­lab­o­ra­tively fits to­gether for our fam­ily,” she said.

They knew they had to start small be­cause of the learn­ing curve and also be­cause the bulbs they had to plant would take time to pro­duce stems.

“We’re not go­ing to have an abun­dance this first year. But we’ve planned to see this through long-term, and it should mul­ti­ply each year,” she said. The fam­ily sold tulips and for­aged branches in the spring and has been sell­ing zin­nias, cos­mos and dahlias this sum­mer.

They will have a lim­ited sup­ply. The plan is to sell bou­quets this year at small pop-up lo­ca­tions and by or­der­ing di­rectly. Fol­low obrienout­post.com to be no­ti­fied of flower sales.

Kasey is also work­ing on a prod­uct to teach other peo­ple to start their own small busi­nesses. It is a prod­uct for home­school­ing moms with young en­trepreneurs that will help ed­u­cate them on how to de­velop in­ter­est-led ideas, build a plat­form and learn to use so­cial me­dia for a mean­ing­ful pur­pose, she said. This re­source should be avail­able in the fall at obrienout­post. com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Above: Kasey O’Brien (right) and her daugh­ter Dakota gather flow­ers at the fam­ily’s flower farm in An­der­son.

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