Our Story - in a Timeline
The Holton Homestead was accidentally founded in 2015 when we moved to our small acreage in Elkhart. Immediately, we wanted fruit trees, a garden, animals, and bees. We had a small flock of chickens that produced more eggs than we knew what to do with. We started selling eggs. Eventually, this led to our Ankeny egg route, delivering eggs to 40+ families weekly. Word quickly spread, and we had more customers than products to sell.
In the spring of 2016, we prepared to be first-time vendors at the Ankeny Farmers Market. Neither of us had ever been to a farmers market and had no idea what we were doing as vendors. The first year, we didn’t have much to offer but fell in love with the customer interaction and support from our community. This was the gateway to our new lifestyle.
In 2017, we sent our bees to California for the first time. They spend the winter months participating in almond pollination. Over the years, the Homestead has ventured in many different directions, including managing a 26-acre apple orchard, raising and breeding pasture pigs, raising and processing poultry, market gardening, cast iron cookware restoration, natural remedies, and keeping bees. Amidst all these activities, we were able to narrow down to what we were most passionate about. Today our focus is beekeeping, honey, market gardening, natural wholesome products, and vintage cast iron cookware.
In 2018, Tyler connected with a bee broker located in California, and he took a leap of faith in accepting a seasonal job position. From January through April, Tyler manages beekeepers’ hives from all over the country for almond pollination. Tyler loved this position so much he continues to work in California every season.
In 2019, Tyler coordinated with local beekeepers to send a semi-load of bees for pollination. We obtained our food processing plant license for producing flavored creamed honey and Elderberry tonic.
In 2020, we accomplished big goals. We got multiple employees on the payroll, a small retail store on our farm, and you can find our products in numerous retail locations throughout central Iowa.
Now, in 2021, our brains are spinning with all kinds of new ideas and goals that we cannot wait to share with you!
Meet The Team
Hi, I’m Tyler. You might know me as the Beekeeper. Sara and I started The Holton Homestead in 2015. Back in 2018, I took a leap of faith to go to California for the winter and work as a broker connecting beekeepers from all over the United States to almond growers. I enjoy beekeeping because it keeps me on my toes and I am always learning.
Hi, I’m Sara. You may not know this, but I am a third-generation beekeeper. My dad and grandpa Todd kept bees together in the ’80s. Marketing has always been a passion of mine, but I never thought I’d be marketing our business. I love working on our land and making amazing connections with all of our customers.
Hey, I’m Brooke! Most of you know me from markets and social media, if not that’s cool. Not only do I work our farmers markets and events, but I am also in charge of all of Homestead’s wholesale accounts. I have a sweet little fur baby named Maggie, a silver lab. My favorite farm animal would have to be the baby ducks we have running around every spring. They always bring a smile to my face, and I enjoy watching them splash around in the pool.
Hey! My name is Makynze. I hail from a small town just like Elkhart but now live in Des Moines with my fiancé, my dog, and my cat. Though I only recently started working at the Holton Homestead, I love working with such a creative and bubbly group of people. I mean who else could come up with Mango Habanero Honey? It goes great in my homemade BBQ sauce. My favorite job at the Homestead is working in the garden. I love to get my hands in the dirt and connect to the earth. It’s so fun to nurture something so strong-willed yet so delicate at the same time. The garden teaches me patience and gives me so much joy!
Hey, I’m Talula! This is my very first job, and it is so much fun! I started working for the Homestead as soon as I could in the spring of 2020. I have learned so much in just a short amount of time working at the Homestead. My favorite part of working is being around all the animals and eating honey!
Hi, I’m Erica! I started working at the Homestead in the spring of 2021. I have spent most of the year working at various farmers markets and vending events around central Iowa. My favorite part of working at the Homestead is meeting all of our customers and making connections with them.
Hi, I’m Reanna! I’m Tyler’s little sister and have been helping with the Homestead since 2018. In 2021, I started working full-time, doing all the behind-the-scene work like filling honey, working in the garden, and making products.
Hello, I’m Hallie! I am a recent hire and am excited to be working with The Holton Homestead. I’ll be doing all things computer-related: blog and recipe posts, emails, monthly news letters and social media. Come spring, I’ll be getting my hands dirty on the farm!