On their family’s 400-acre farm in Adrian, Mo., about 50 miles south of Kansas City, Gabe and Katie Farrar produce good things for the table and the home. They seasonally focus on two distinct yet intertwined small businesses intended to make the most of the land.
Farrar Family Farm
At the Farrar’s farm, pigs forage in the forest and wallow in the creek beds. Herds of cattle graze from a different pasture every day of the month.
With traditional farming, cattle graze in a paddock for up to a few months, depleting the pasture land in that location. The Farrars practice a non-traditional method of regenerative, sustainable farming—working the land so it can restore itself from grazing while yielding a harvest of the highest-quality meat.
Each day, farmers move cows to fresh pasture, which offers the grass one day of disturbance and 45 days of rest. With this method of “rotational grazing,” animals glean from the land, enrich it with their waste and then the land is allowed a period of re-growth to provide the most nutrients possible for the animals next time they visit to graze. Animals are quickly moved away from their waste to fresh food, resulting in healthier animals.
“We raise ‘salad bar’ beef—knowing that every single day we’re giving our animals a clean living environment and the best food they can get,” Gabe Farrar says.
The result of this method of land management, the Farrars say, is a higher standard of purely grass-fed meat, raised without antibiotics, to be both flavorful and lean.
“Food can be marketed as healthy yet still have a lot of loopholes,” he says. “The most integrity, the true story about your food, you’ll get from the person who raised it.”
The Farrars have developed a loyal clientele of customers who value knowing the source of their food. Farrar Family Farm grass-fed beef, forest-raised pork, pastured poultry and grass-fed lamb can be found at their farm stand at the Lee’s Summit Farmer’s Market, delivered fresh to your door, at The Loews Hotel KC or at The Chive Café and Market in Grandview.
From March through October, the Farrars devote their full attention to farming, but during the winter months, Gabe turns to Crafted Element, his custom woodworking business in the shop adjoining the couple’s home.
Gabe grew up working construction jobs alongside his father, building barns and finishing basements, and his educational background is in civil engineering. Creating home goods and furniture came as a natural progression—he’s good at building things, it feeds his creative side and it puts to use resources readily available on the farm.
Of the Farrars’ 400 acres, 60 of them are wooded with pecan, walnut, cherry, oak, locust and ash trees. As their farming business grew, the family began to selectively clear areas for pasture land, and their “use everything” motto on the farm provided the materials to create beautiful, useful objects.
“A theme on the farm is not letting things go to waste—putting leftovers to use in a functional way,” Katie explains.
Two years ago, the couple purchased a sawmill, which allows Gabe to process full trees from the land and also take on larger custom projects, cutting wood to any thickness and specification.
Now, about half of the wood used in Crafted Element pieces is sourced from the land and the other half from local lumber suppliers, all depending on the type of wood the client desires and their timeline.
With trees that had been cut down to make room for pasture, or trees with a defect in a certain area, Gabe made his first small home goods for friends. A cutting board, some coasters, bottle openers. His first large piece was a dining room table for his sister.
Today, he enjoys the creative process of working on a variety of custom pieces for clients from tables to coat racks to artisanal serving trays. Clients who seek him out desire not a stock piece of furniture, but something artistic, unique and made-to-last.
Together, they walk through a process of selecting the wood, the style of table edge, the type and color of stain.
“I’m not trying to be Ikea,” he says. “We’re still small enough that whatever the customer wants, I build. Every piece is different and fun. I find out what people want, and I make it happen for them.”