116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MY BIZ: Over the Moon Farm & Flowers
Female farmers carve out niche in rural Delaware County
By Katie Mills GIorgio, - correspondent
May. 9, 2023 5:00 am
The coming weeks and months will be particularly busy for Shae Pesek, 32 and Anna Hankins-Pesek, 28, but it's the kind of busy they are well prepared for.
The couple own and operate Over the Moon Farm & Flowers, a diversified horticulture and livestock farm in rural Delaware County.
“We’re what's called a direct-to-consumer farm because everything we produce we sell directly to people throughout Eastern Iowa,” said Anna.
They grow seasonal-cut flowers from May through September. Twelve months out of the year they sell pasture-raised chickens, turkeys, ducks and Berkshire pork.
The business — a Community Supported Agriculture venture — offers a monthly meat subscription and also offers wholesale products to restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area.
The women also work with other local farmers to offer their customers other protein options, including beef and lamb, and garden produce during the growing season.
Shae said growing up on her family’s farm put her on the path to having her own farm today.
“I've always really had a deep passion for agriculture, and I knew that was something that I wanted to do with my future,” she said, noting she grew up being active in 4-H and FFA.
After meeting Anna, who was also working in agriculture at the time, the two hit it off and decided they wanted to start their own business.
“We really started selling in 2019,” Shae said. “We started doing cut flowers as a way to start our business and develop some cash flow, because we knew that we wanted to do livestock. So we've slowly been building our livestock and expanding. It's gone really well, and we've had a lot of success in our local community.”
The business offers free delivery to Marion, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Manchester.
Running the business
Over the Moon uses social media and a weekly newsletter to stay connected with customers, who now number 150-plus.
“It's for people that kind of want to see the behind-the-scenes, and our newsletter gives people the lowdown on what's going on in the farm, where they can find us, as well as giving them the ability to place a weekly order,” Anna.
Over the Moon Farm & Flowers also can be found at the Iowa City Farmers Market and at pop-up events at places like at NewBo City Market.
Anna said they are proud to be participating in the Local Food Purchasing Assistance program as well, offering their protein through the Delaware County food bank through federal and state funding.
“One reason we started our business back in 2019 is because we knew and understood that within our rural community, we really had to create the opportunities that we were seeking and starting a business is one way to do that,” Anna said.
As LGBTQ women farmers, they admit to being “a bit of an anomaly.”
“But we know the economic importance, especially of having livestock businesses that put a lot of money back into the community,” Anna said. “And there's a lot of interest, I think, especially post-pandemic — people want to make sure that they can secure their food sources locally.”
There’s also joy in their work and not just because they grow and sell flowers.
“I really like that I interact with just a huge range of people from week to week,” Anna said. “It’s everything from interacting with my customer base, which ranges from awesome moms and families to elderly folks, to other farmers.”
Anna noted that also includes other business owners, such as the small, federally inspected poultry processing plant they work with. “There's just so much to gain from the very human part of farming.”
“I really love how with agriculture and farming we wear so many different hats,” Shae said. “I feel like every day is different. It challenges me. I feel creative. I feel like I learned so much every day.
“I love being around livestock. There really is a lot of joy in that, and I just have a lot of passion around raising really great quality meat. And I love being able to work with my wife every day. … I feel like we are great partners in business life, and I’m just so grateful for that.”
“I'm really happy to be in rural Iowa at this point in my life,” Shae added. “This community has been very supportive of us in our business, and it's something that I'm very grateful for.
“And I just can't wait for everyone to see what we have going on in five years and 10 years. We have a lot of great things planned. … We're someone to watch.”
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Over the Moon Farm & Flowers
Owners: Anna Hankins-Pesek and Shae Pesek
Address: Rural Delaware County