Sycamore Q&A: Kaity Farrell, Maker | Massachusetts, USA
Everything we do at Sycamore Street Press is with the goal of living a simple, beautiful & creative life, and in helping others do the same. There are so many people who have inspired us on this path, and we'd love to learn more from them! So we decided to start an interview series on the topic. Today we'll hear from Kaity Farrell, founder of Fare Isle, a sustainable small business that focuses on farm to table pantry items, botanical skin care and wellness products all made by hand on her organic gardens 30 miles out at sea on the island of Nantucket.
Tell us a little about how you started Fare Isle.
I planted this little seed of an idea I had for many years after I gave birth to my son, Iley, four years ago. I knew I wanted to spend most of my time with him, and be happy doing things I truly loved to do. I wanted to make and sell wholesome foods, and did so at our local farmers market. Along the way, I started to include our handmade botanical bath and skincare products in our offerings. Before I started selling my products, my husband and I had been cooking private dinners for years for vacationers on the island in the summer, which we still continue to do and have moved our focus to creating farm-to-table small gatherings for clients. Added to all of that now are my Nantucket landscape/nature photography and flower art prints. I am now wholesaling our products across the country and am so grateful to see people enjoying them in their daily lives. Beyond the business side of things, my other passion is sharing my plant-based recipes on the Fare Isle Blog, and my next (still far off) goal is to write a cookbook of wholesome seasonal recipes.
Can you describe a “typical” day in your life?
Every day seems to take on its own flow, and the seasons seem to guide that flow, whatever time of year it may be. We are not regularly tied to schedules, thankfully, so mornings can be early or slow and in the summer are mainly spent tending the garden, and errands are run usually mid-day (shipping/mail pickup/food shopping/etc.). Work is sporadic, we make pretty much everything to order in small batches, so some days can be full of making and others none at all. In the summers we participate in our local farmers and artisans market, so Fridays and Saturdays are always busy preparing and setting up/breaking down our display. I usually take one day a week to make/style/photograph and write up a recipe for the blog. We are avid sunset chasers so I always have my camera with me when we go nearly every evening to take new landscapes for prints. Our garden provides the flowers that I use in my flower art prints and I create new designs every summer. Our son is with us all the time, and we switch off when one of us has to work solo, and of course there is time made everyday to just play with him. We are contemplating whether to dive into homeschooling next year or send him off to the local school for kindergarten -- big decisions coming our way!
How do you make sure you have time with your family/loved ones?
I touched on this a little above, but we just include our son in everything we do at home. No matter how busy our days seem to get, we always seem to make time for an evening bike ride together or a sunset walk.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
Ha! I don't much anymore. Life is so full that I can't complain about it either.
What are some ways you deal with stress/try and keep it to a minimum?
In the summer, evening bike rides to the beaches and year-round, watching the sunset. The sound of the waves crashing and breathing in the salt air is the best medicine for clearing my head of worries and stress. Also, walking to the beaches and on the wooded paths here. All things nature have that effect on me I guess.
What are some of your favorite simple, healthful foods/recipes?
We eat of lot of legume/vegetable based soups year-round. Soup is so nourishing! I still have to share some of our favorite soup recipes on the blog, but you can see lots of examples of them on my Instagram feed. Stewed greens over rice with coconut milk is another favorite.
We eat a ton of salads. This vegan Caesar is pretty amazing as a meal in itself.
We make our own tofu and our veggie "un-meatballs" are our favorite way to prepare it.
These gluten free pancakes are great on Sunday mornings.
This year we started brewing our own water kefir, a probiotic rich drink, and it is fairly easy to make! We drink it everyday and our gut health has improved greatly! I have a tutorial on the blog and several posts with different flavor recipes.
Do you have any tips for simplifying?
Ask yourself if a thing has purpose and function and is it being used. If the answer is no, then seriously consider passing it on to its next life. I'm always trying to declutter our small living space, because we really don't have room for more than the necessities. I'm kind of a pack-rat by nature, so it is challenging for me!
What’s your favorite way to bring a little beauty into your home?
Fresh cut flowers from the garden. I also like to display shells and beach stones in glass vessels to bring in some beauty of our natural surroundings year round. In the winter I hang swaths of eucalyptus and evergreen on the walls (eucalyptus is especially lovely in the bath, as it releases its aroma when the steam hits it).
What are you looking for in products that you choose to spend money on?
It has to be a quality, preferably handmade, item that has purpose, function and necessity. We live in a small space so accumulating things literally cramps our lifestyle. We're always decluttering, especially our little one’s toys. Right now I'm working on paring down my wardrobe into a capsule collection. Moving forward, I plan on only purchasing clothes that I will live in, effortless pieces, preferably handmade, or thrifted. When you think about it, none of us really needs that much. I still desire stuff, like kitchen tools and clothing mostly, but Pinterest is great for "keeping" those things.
What does living a “simple yet beautiful” life mean to you?
Living slowly and consciously, being present in the moment and taking time to appreciate where our food and everything else we have comes from. Making time to be in nature for the sake of just being and bringing nature into the home to beautify our day-to-day lives.
Thank you, Kaity!
All photos by Kaity Farrell.
You might also like our #SycamoreReads book club on Instagram. We choose a book each month and discuss it Monday mornings on our feed. Find it on @SycamoreStreetPress.