My name is Jamie Beth Derr.
This is not just My story but Our Story, as this flower business and our entire farm is truly a family operation. It starts generations before any of us were here; my husband and I are both at least 4th generation farmers. The love for growing things runs deep in our veins and is truly a calling set upon us by God.
Valley-Ho Farm was purchased by my husband Chris’ grandparents in 1962 as a dairy and crop farm. In 2008, Chris and I were married and took over operating the farm for crops while both of us were working at other farms as well.
In 2013, after 2.5 years of planning we started our dairy operation; milking 80 Holstein cattle, raising the replacement heifers and crops to feed. We have been blessed with two sons: Levi and Zachary. They are both involved in the farm chores.
Chris’ Pappy still loves to come out and help on the farm, and his mom, Kaye, also helps however needed. The extended family are always the first to come out and help whenever the need arises.
In 2017 milk prices, dropped and we began brainstorming ways to bring in more income. Most of the options would take me away from the farm and away from our young boys too much. Then one day, Chris said to me, “Why don’t you try to make money off your flower hobby….”
For as long as I can remember, I have loved flowers. As a little girl, I would help my Grandma Beth in her greenhouse and it was one of my favorite places in the world. My favorite movie was The Secret Garden and I watched it to the point of obsession (I will admit, I am still a bit obsessed). When I was in high school, I started my own “Secret Garden” on my parents farm. I had my Daddy build me a roadside stand from an old wagon where I sold sunflowers and jars of flowers. Anytime in my life that sadness or anxiety crept in, the flowers would always settle me. So, is “hobby” the correct word for it? Or has this always been a “calling” from God?
One day, on our way home from soccer practice for Levi, I passed the Myersville Farmers Market and just knew I was supposed to stop. I talked with the market manager, Josh, and he said “we would love to have you”. That was the true beginning of Valley HomeMade and HomeGrown.
One market turned into two, and then three, and this year possibly four. Last year, we decided to begin opening the farm to our customers for Cut-Your-Own events. We have loved them! Sharing this beautiful farm that God has entrusted us with tending is so fulfilling.
We want anyone who visits our farms or sees us at markets to feel the joy of flowers and the peace they can offer. I am not completely sure where this business is headed, but what I do know is that God will lead us where it is meant to go.
When I was a little girl, I wanted “A Secret Garden”. Now that I have grown, I want “A Garden to Share”. I will leave you with a quote from this favorite movie of mine and the reminder that by clinging to the good in life and tending those thoughts we will keep those negative “weeds” at bay.
“Where You tend a Rose, A Thistle Cannot Grow” - The Secret Garden.
Love and Blessings,