Humblebee Farms Finds a Home

Five years ago my husband and I embarked on a journey. A journey to find the perfect place to found “Humblebee Farms”. The journey took nearly five years to complete and tested us in every imaginable way possible (more on that in later posts). All the time though we knew we were doing the right thing. We knew that the only way we would be able to grow and raise the sustainable, quality food we wanted (needed), we’d have to produce it ourselves.

But where? We currently live in the suburbs of Seattle. Where a short growing season and the skyrocketing cost of real-estate quickly scratched a line across the Emerald City as an option for us.

So we expanded our search to Southern Oregon and Northern California. Ashland Oregon, for a hot minute, looked promising. But the unexplainably high-cost of land paired with the poor job market and water rights issue bubbling up across the region eventually scratched Ashland off the list. It remains a favorite vacation destination though. Nearby Roseburg also showed potential. The land was gorgeous. Prices were a little more accessible and we even found a few like-minded folks committed to expanding the sustainable food movement. An old house situated alongside a bucolic pasture with a strong river adjacent to the Eastern border of the property was for sale. But for some reason Roseburg just didn’t “click” with us. It didn’t feel we were home. We listened to our inner voice and moved on.

At this point the west coast pretty much had a big black X over it. So we started to think outside of the comfort of the regions we were familiar with. We sat down and made a list of our top priorities. The list that resulted was this: a long growing season, warm climate, good soil quality, numerous trees, good water availability, accessibility to tech jobs and relatively low real-estate cost. When we later shared this list with our real-estate agent I can only imagine what went through his head (something along the lines of “are these people for real?!”). Instead of “two bedroom, two bath with a modern kitchen” our focus was entirely on the land. The house – if any – was secondary.

The story of who first suggested Austin, Texas is a little shrouded. Most probable is that we both came to the same idea at the same time. I remember reading an article about the top organic food friendly cities in the country. Austin was listed as number four (no, I can’t find that article anymore, but regardless it served it’s purpose). My husband remembers suggesting to me that we investigate Austin – knowing Texas had the long sunny days he wanted as well as a strong music scene. Either way, we found ourselves suddenly seriously considering moving to Texas. And neither of us had ever been there!

We changed that in 2015 when we made the first of many visit to Texas. As life would have it, my work in tech brought me to Austin, Dallas and Houston numerous times after that. We both fell in love with Texas.

So today, I’m excited to share that finally we have a home for Humblebee Farms. Just shy 100 acres in the Lost Pine forest of Paige, Texas. Where loblolly pines mingle with towering oaks and two wet-weather creaks meander through the front and back of the property. A tiny log-cabin blends into this wooded environment. While two metal barns provides much-needed storage for projects sure to come. We even got a Kubota 4-wheeler thrown in with the deal – which polished up like a gem after a good scrub.

We still have to wrap up our life in Seattle – including listing and selling our home. But we know have firm ground to overlay our vision on and in the coming months I’ll share some of the challenges we tackled navigating Texas real estate (hint: mineral rights), reflect on some of the twists and turns we had to navigate on the road of life to get here and how we plan to move our micro-flock of chickens 2,200 miles.

Welcome to Humblebee Farms.