Since moving to Minnesota from Oregon, I have gone from a white collar state employee—to a truck farmer—to a foodie—-to a health coach, all under the business of HeathGlen!
In 1996 when our 5 year-old daughter started having medical problems due to a heart defect, it was time for mom to look for a new job in order to stay closer to home. Gazing out our window at 23 acres of woodland, wetland, and fallow land (aka weeds), it didn’t take long to formulate a vision based on an old, but enduring dream. Hubby Cris had a tractor, we had the land and the dream of HeathGlen started to unfold.
Today, HeathGlen Organic Farm nurtures 5 acres of berries, herbs and vegetables surrounded by 19 acres of orchard, woodland and wetland. The fruits of our labor are sold primarily at the St. Paul and Kingsfield Farmers’ Markets from May to December. We bring a fresh product to market that is locally grown, pesticide-free and herbicide-free, and harvested only at its peak.
In 2005, the same daughter that turned mom into a farmer decided some jellies for her PBJ sandwiches would be nice to take to swim practice. We had a bumper crop of fruit that year so I went a little overboard trying all kinds of flavor combinations. My past life included a long stint as a bartender, and I found I loved using that particular background with liqueurs and wines to enhance the flavors of the fresh fruit. The resulting preserves were so popular at market, that we added a commercial kitchen to our farm and our seasonal business became a year-round business.
Forward to 2014 to 2017. As the farm grew so did I, literally. Plus my energy was waning from all the physical work. Rather accidentally, I picked up a copy of Tim Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Body” and became a convert. After 6 months on his plan, I came away with renewed energy and 35 pounds less weight to carry. That success made me somewhat of an evangelist, so when I was asked to coach other people to success on this diet I jumped at the opportunity.
It was an chance to combine my cooking experience with the diet and nutrition knowledge gained through my weight loss journey, and turn that into a purpose-driven job that could help people improve their lives while still eating and living well. Over the past two years, I’ve coached over 250 people to success on their diet and fitness goals. The joy I get from their successes has turned coaching into a major passion for me. Farming, Food & Purpose.…it has become a winning formula for happiness in my business life at HeathGlen.
I am certified as an online coach, but I honestly consider myself a “client-taught” coach. The people that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching are from all over the world and come from a diversity of backgrounds. They have taught me so very much and I would love to share it with you if you have a diet or overall fitness goal.
The online platform that I coach through is a website called coach.me , where I offer a range of packages that can include online 1-to-1 coaching, phone or Skype calls, low carb meal plans and individualized support. This website also offers coaching from other certified coaches on a range of self-improvement goals, including business coaching, sleep coaching, fitness coaching, writing, meditation, etc. Check out my coaching profile with client testimonials, along with information on other goals and coaches by clicking here.
The newest evolution on my business journey involves expanding the HeathGlen product line of low carb and low sugar products. Check out the 2017 line of these products here, and look for more additions in 2018.
So that is my story of how I went from a white collar state employee–to a truck farmer–to a foodie—to a coach, all under the business of HeathGlen!
What Makes HeathGlen Preserves so Special
It’s freshly harvested, it’s harvested when it’s ripe, and there’s lots of it in each jar. Most of the berries are picked daily from our organic farm and carted straight into our licensed farm kitchen. This includes strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, tomatoes and peppers. If we run low on raspberries or blueberries we supplement our supply with berries from local farmers whose quality we trust and have experience with. Stone fruit (peaches, cherries and plums) comes from a Michigan farm who we have also been working with for years and completely trust their quality. All peaches are tree-ripened. Once happy with the quailty of the fruit, we make sure there is plenty of it in the preserves, so you can actually taste the fruit rather than the sugar. Our fruit preserves are chunky, with whole or large-cut pieces of fruit that burst with fresh flavor when you bite into it.
Some sugar is necessary and even desirable. Necessary to ensure the product can be “preserved” safely, and desirable because limited amounts of sugar bring out the juices and enhance the flavor of the fruit. We keep the sugar to a minimum however, by using no commercial pectin in fruit products with enough natural pectin, and a low-sugar pectin in fruits that are low in natural pectin (these are labeled as “low-sugar”. We never use sugar substitutes as we feel this sacrifices the taste.
The Process at HeathGlen
We have chosen to stay small and keep the quality high. In the language of the day, we are known as artisans. We work with small batches (6-10 jars), do not use any artificial preservatives, fillers, artificial coloring and the only water in our products comes from the fruit. Comparatively, large-scale preserve companies often process jams in cavernous batches where the flavor is boiled out, with less expensive sweeteners (i.e. corn syrup) and far less fruit. In many cases, the fruit that is used is often seconds that are “good enough for jam.”
The Flavors of HeathGlen
Through research, trial and error and a lot of comments from the tasters at the farmers markets, I have developed a range of unique flavors that pair a certain spirit or herb with a particular fruit to enhance the richness of the fruit, or to simply bring out a delightful new flavor. Many of the single fruit preserves are still available for the purists at heart.
HeathGlen Farm is a 23 acre woodland farm located on the outskirts of Forest Lake, Minnesota, about 30 miles north of St. Paul. The farm is our homestead and had never been farmed before we tilled the first acre in 1997. From the beginning we knew we would farm everything organically and spent several years researching organic farming practices all over the U.S. We were organically certified by Farm Verified Organic in 1999.
Since that time HeathGlen farm has evolved from a diverse range of flowers, fruits and vegetables to include only the products we do best and have become known for. We sell fresh blueberries and fresh heirloom tomatoes at several twin cities farmers markets, and we sell fruit preserves year-round made from our own berries, supplemented by other local farmers.