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Meet a teen who started a major farming business with her fam

 
The Calendario sisters, a.k.a. Young Female Farmers (from left to right) : Camaryn (20), Trae (18), and Cheyenne (23).
 Imagine if you took a family hobby and turned it into an international business. That’s just what 18-year-old Trae Candelario and her sisters Camaryn and Cheyenne did. They’re the force behind Young Female Farmers (check out their site HERE), which grows, bakes, and sells everything from organic veggies to fresh bread to handmade jewelry.  
 

“We do a little of everything here,” Trae says. The farm and business, which began in 2006, all started with the family’s four-legged friends. “My mom grew up with horses, so when we moved from New York to Georgia we started taking lessons, and that’s how the farm kind of got started. We had a small garden with the horses and then a friend of my mom suggested that we start baking, and my mom…asked if we wanted to do it one summer and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Trae explains.

Going Global

Now, the biz is known internationally. The girls were just named #5 on nonprofit Food Tank’s list of 30 Women Under 30 Changing Food (Trae’s sisters are 20 and 23 years old) and they’ve even had speaking gigs in Africa. One of Trae’s fave parts of her success? “That so many people know about us and it’s just something that we originally expected as a summer hobby.…Just [knowing] that one baking business that started with us baking pies for our community…can turn into something international.” GL girls, take note. Whatever you’re loving this summer, be it crafts or cooking or helping a bud redo her room, could be enough to start a major business.  

Trae, who just finished her senior year of high school, is taking a gap year to work and plans to attend college in fall of 2016. Her older sisters have been back and forth from home to college and nursing school, but they’ve stayed as involved as possible in the family business. No doubt the sisters are in it for the long haul. “We continue to make this about family,” Trae says. “It’s made it more enjoyable that we’ve been able to do this together. I wouldn’t want to share this with anyone else.”

Trae’s Tips

The girls are all about the importance of eating in a way that’s healthy for you and the environment. She recognizes that organic food can be super expensive, but reminds us that it’s worth it—farmers work really hard to grow healthy, organic food. “Be aware of the struggle and time that farmers…put into it,” she says.

But even if you can’t afford to buy all organic food, she still recommends poking around farmer’s markets and chatting with the farmers to learn more about what they do and what’s in the food you eat. “Just taking small steps and finding out where your food comes from is a big part of staying healthy” Trae says. You can also find some awesome recipes on the girls’ website.

If you’re interested in starting a little garden of your own, you don’t need a huge family farm like Trae’s. The Candelario sisters once fed an entire fire station full of people with a garden the size of one of their horse’s feed tanks (a little smaller than a bathtub). You can grow a few plants, like basil or cucumbers, just on your stoop or windowsill. “Making use of what you’ve got, all you need is sunlight and some soil and you can grow anything,” Trae advises. You can pick up seeds at your local hardware store or Home Depot. And if you do want to take it bigger, Trae says that farming is “very rewarding and…nothing you can’t handle if you have a love of food and nature.”

 

Camaryn and Trae (right) hard at work at their local farmer's market. 

Even if you’re not a foodie, Trae and her sisters provide great business inspiration. Trae, who cites her mom as her role model, has some great advice for girlies looking to start their own business. “There’s always a market for anything….Know that there’s gonna be some people who don’t like what you do, there could be people who don’t support it” she says. “But as long as you find your niche in the community, there’s always gonna be a spot for you if you have a drive to work for it.”

Do you have a fave hobby you could see becoming a major business?

 

Photo credit: youngfemalefarmers.com

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by Katy Herman | 2/1/2016
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