GSM: How’d you get your start in the business?
Raya Carr: Our business started as a hobby farm with the mission is to restore the Illinois Grand Prairie eco-system and to offer a sustainable, nutritious, and humane livestock farming model to be an example of why our society should turn away from conventional farming. I have personally continued with our family business because I believe so strongly in striving to restore a better relationship with our food and farming production as Americans, the community created around farming in the greater Chicago area, the creativity and problem solving required by farming, and for awe of and love for animals and our natural ecosystems.
GSM: What was your first job?
Raya Carr: We're a family business, so us farm kids first jobs were things like helping spread straw, feeding baby animals, milking sheep and goats, and collecting eggs.
GSM: What does sustainability mean to you?
Raya Carr: Sustainability means farming or acting in such a way that recognizes how humans and animals and nature in general are all connected in a profound way, and as such using methods that respect all beings as a resilient whole striving for symbiosis and nurturing each other.
GSM: What’s something about your business that you think our market visitors would be surprised to hear?
Raya Carr: How about that the ecological benefits of perennial pastures on our farm and beyond can help combat climate change? They do this by fixing carbon, holding top-soil, and cleaning the air and water systems. How about that the nutrition of organic, grass fed meat and the avoidance of soy products in any of our animal feeds can help fight chronic disease epidemics in the US such as heart disease and cancer? This is a prevention approach of healthy, balanced, omega-3 rich diet, but as such, it is still a powerful answer to a nationwide problem.
Also, we are very small business with less than 10 full time staff between my dad, farmhands and sales staff combined. I think because our pricing is on the high end, people assume that we're a bigger business, with a bigger staff, raking in the dough. This is certainly not the case. We tend to charge as little as we can while still having hope of making ends meet.
We are barely squeaking by, and although we are hopeful about the future, our business has yet to make any profits over all the costs of farming! This is a labor of love, not money. The reason our pricing is higher than other vendors is because we are doing this as a passion of heart, we refuse to cut corners on our farming practices and feeds. Our animals eat 100% soy free and certified organic. Think about that for a second. How many of us people can say that? But that's how serious we are about farming the healthiest and most sustainable meat and eggs to offer our customers!
Mint Creek has been in business for over 22 years and a vendor at Glenwood Sunday Market for 6 seasons. Their 220 acre certified organic farm in Stelle, IL which offers plenty of grazing room for their sheep, cows, pigs, goats and various poultry, all while combating climate change. We recently spoke with Raya Carr, whose father Harry owns Mint Creek Farm, to hear a little bit more about what motivates them to do some pretty amazing things on their farm.
This week, Mint Creek Farm is featuring Farm Fresh Eggs! Be sure and get yours at
Glenwood Sunday Market. Thanks Carr Family!