Many of you have read on this blog before about Gaucho Farms. But in case you are new to me here, you are in for a real treat, and are going to be grateful to me for sharing about this little gem. Jillian and I took a drive out there last Friday morning to take some fresh pics, although some of these pictures will be from my archives from visits out there for the Farm Day event Gaucho Farms puts together throughout the year.
Jorge and Suzanne Sanchez have been friends to our family for the last 5 years. The very first time we met them was at a church fellowship at a local park. At the time, Suzanne (a native of Dothan) was pregnant with their second son Jacob. I will never forget when I asked Jorge (an Argentine native) how he came about on his ventures to the United States.
He told me he came over as a Polo player. Then he asked, "Do you know what that is?". I think I shocked him when a little south Alabamian woman knew the correct answer. You could tell he normally had to answer his own question!
Even if I didn't know that answer, it wouldn't have mattered. I would have gladly had Jorge explain as you could sense that his humble estate of asking was not "do you know what that is and you better, or you are stupid", but more like "do you know what that is, because I would love to share with you if you don't". From that very moment that day, I realized that Jorge and Suzanne were going to be great friends, because they are great people.
Jorge and Suzanne are the kind of people that you just want to be around. The kind of people that are truly genuine, humble and just plain REAL! The kind of people that when you are to meet for dinner at a restaurant for a fine dining experience, calls to inform you they are running late because one had to stop off at her mom's to pick up shoes because she left her house in a tizzy over one of those "rushing out the door arguments", meanwhile slipping on her husband's yard work flip flops ..... my first thought was NOT "oh, wow, they have disagreements and arguments?? They must have problems." but more like " YES! They are just like us! They're normal!".
Time and time again they have served our family with countless blessings, like yard work when Tim was away on business for weeks, meals when we were sick or injured. Or just a simple ear to listen when you are having a bad day and when you show your frustrations about wanting to send your computer to He## for the trouble it's giving you (Suzanne is quite the computer techy and has been a great help in my future blogging endevours).
I tell you all this because, they have carried and held on to the same humble like, real servant heart into their very own business. With prayer, inspiration, imagination and a whole lot of hard work, The Sanchez family took a piece of land, lived in a 650sq ft renovated garage on the newly purchased property while building their dream.... Gaucho Farms.
I am honored to call them friends and happy to share this information about them and their business through the interview with Suzanne below......Enjoy! :)
When did you start loving the outdoors and animals?
I don't remember a time when I DIDN'T enjoy the outdoors and animals, but
when I was 5 we moved to what was then "the country" half way down Flowers
Chapel Road in Dothan. I was the youngest of three and my two sisters were
already teenagers, so I spent a lot of time wandering around by myself on
our little farm and the adjacent property with my dog or on my horse, just
exploring and observing.
When you were a little girl what did you want to be/do when you grew up?
Definitely a vet - don't most girls consider that at some point?! I never
really considered farming. My dad was an organic hobby farmer in the '70s,
and I had my fill of digging potatoes and shoveling compost.
What was your college major?
Zoology with a pre-vet emphasis from Auburn (War Eagle!) and then later, I
went back and earned a second degree in Wildlife Biology from the University
of Montana. All that biology has been beneficial to understanding the
production needs of livestock, and the health benefits of growing grass-fed
meats and pastured poultry and eggs. It's also helped me understand things
like soil fertility, and a holistic approach to farming.
When did you meet Jorge and share a little bit about how your
When Jorge and I met he was playing polo in Columbus, Ga., and I had just
finished college at Auburn. We became friends and I enjoyed learning about
his Argentine culture. I knew he had grown up working on ranches, but it
was much later that I understood he had grown up as a real Argentine Gaucho
Share with us a few passions you and Jorge share together....
Jorge and I both love the outdoors, and the farm and ranch lifestyle. It's
been an enjoyable mission for both of us to take this run down little piece
of property and turn it into a productive homestead. We both enjoy natural
meat production, but probably for different reasons. I like to learn about,
and practice, sustainable farming and I'm interested in the health benefits
of grass-fed meats and pastured poultry. Jorge just wants a great-tasting
steak or lamb chop that he raised himself, and he loves to care for the
Jorge has a history of ranching. Besides knowledge of cattle; what are some of his other expertise with farming?
Jorge first worked on a dairy farm. Then with sheep and cattle. And, of
course, he's an excellent horseman. We lived on a cattle ranch in Montana
for years and the old-time, die-hard cowboys in Montana said Jorge was the
best stockman they'd ever seen. He's kind of an all-in-one
horse/cattle/sheep/chicken whisperer! He can also build a great fence and
How did Gaucho Farms start? And what was the inspiration behind it?
We had wanted to farm for about 10 years. I had done the numbers a million
times and couldn't figure out how to get started without it costing a
fortune. There's a joke in the West: "What will you do if you win the
lottery? Answer: Ranch 'til the money runs out." Let's face it - farming
is a low-profit to no-profit endeavor. Then I read this fantastic book by
Joel Salatin called "You Can Farm." It inspired me to look at
diversification as a viable option - how different species of livestock and
poultry can compliment each other.
When choosing your land for your new home and farm, tell us why you chose where you are?
When I look back on how this came together, I can see God's hand in every
stage. One day I took a drive out Hwy 52 and there was this tiny realtor
sign pointing down a dirt road. I drove out the dirt road a little way and
turned around thinking, "I'm not living way out here, no way." But it kept
nagging at me. Another day I drove all the way out to the property and I
loved the way the house sat off the road and I loved the pond. I went home
and told Jorge I thought I had found our property. When he saw it he
agreed. And things just lined up. The house on the property had to be torn
down, but a neighbor showed up and did it for free. That same neighbor
discovered an old well on the property that could have been terribly
hazardous. The garage was in good shape and became our temporary apartment
and now a guest house. We loved the diversity of the property: pasture
land, wooded land, pond, and wetland.
You and Jorge have two sons Daniel and Jacob. Do they have certain chores assigned to them on the Farm?
They are pretty young, but Daniel has the responsibility of closing the
chickens up at night and collecting eggs. Jacob is great at picking up
sticks and working in the garden. He loves to pull weeds, plant and
harvest. I'm trying to cultivate his weed interest!
What are some of your children's favorite things about the farm?
They love the pond for fishing and looking for alligators and turtles. They
love running around and climbing trees and swinging on the rope swing.
Daniel found a Native American scraper buried in the road and both of them
have found huge nails from an old railroad track, so they love to treasure
How was it living in the one bed room unit altogether?
It really wasn't as bad as you might think. I joked about it a lot, but the
only time the four of us were in the 650 sq. ft. cottage together was in the
evening. When we moved to the "big house" the children cried.
What was the plan for the farmhouse and did it stay close to plans or were some big changes made during the process of building?
The farmhouse design was a collaboration between my sister, Denise, who is
an interior designer, and me. I wanted a large laundry, and functional
kitchen, big porches and an affordable size, and she delivered.
What are some of your favorite details about your home and what inspired them?
My three favorite details are the true barn doors that separate the dining
room from the kitchen, the reclaimed pine flooring, and the five panel doors
throughout the house. My sister Denise helped me realize a vision of modern
meets traditional farmhouse. I love it when people say, "Your house looks
like it was born here. - Yes!"
Tell us, what your services/product you started Gaucho Farms with, what you have grown to, and what some of the future plans are?
We started with all-natural 100%grass-fed beef and lamb and have progressed
to pastured chickens and turkeys and pastured eggs, along with vegetables
and value-added products like jams, jellies and sauces. This year we're
growing heirloom vegetable plants for sale - at the farm in April!
What is your favorite part of Gaucho Farms?
I absolutely love the people I'm meeting through this new venture, and I
absolutely love that they are enjoying the products. But my very favorite
thing is the realization of a dream and sitting on the back porch with a cup
of coffee listening as the sheep and chickens wake up.
For more information on Gaucho Farms, their products and the Sanchez family please visit their website here!