Two acres may not sound like much room to run a fully functioning farm, but entrepreneur and micro-farmer Jessica Harrold is proving it's possible to do a lot of things in just a little bit of space. Harrold and her husband Ammon own the Hen & Hare micro-farm in south Boise, a small-acreage operation they started up after Harrold worked at a different organic farm and saw how easy - and ideal - it was to plant, grow, and harvest their own food. "I learned a lot from them," Harrold says, "and saw the importance of growing food locally."
While Hen & Hare raises and sells organic produce, eggs, and meat to folks across the valley, Harrold's personal passion lies in the healing power of herbs. She tells 6 On Your Side, "Working on that farm inspired me to start learning about natural remedies." So she started playing around making lip balms, but eventually discovered she had a knack for creating all kinds of skin solutions, and her herbal apothecary line Apis - derived from a Latin genus for the honeybee - was born.
The Apis product line now includes a variety of all-natural skincare products like hand creams, bath salts, and face serums, all made by Harrold herself right from the Hen & Hare property. "We grow all of our own herbs and then we infuse them into the oils or we dry them and use them in the bath salt blends," Harrold explains. Every product is created in small batches and, most importantly to Harrold, without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. "The skin is the largest organ that we have," she says, "so all of those chemicals are just absorbed into our body, and I think there's a better way and a local way to get some of the basic healing that we need."
Most of the things Harrold uses to create her Apis products, she's able to grow right on the micro-farm, but what she can't grow, she gets sustainably from nearby. "There's no extra transportation, there's no extra packaging that goes into it, everything is just produced here so it's a really small footprint for the business," says Harrold. "We want to show other people that you don't need a lot of room to start growing and raising food for yourself and for other people."
Beyond the Apis line, the animals, and the produce, Hen & Hare also produces abundant habitat for honeybees, which is something the Harrolds are passionate about. They're also now expanding their business to include jams, jellies, mustard and seasoning salts.
Keep an eye out for their products at local farmers markets and businesses, or click here to learn more about what they do and why it they do it.