Catherine and Ben Simmons of Flying S Farm are part of a new breed of farmers, changing careers in mid-life to become market farmers. The two met eleven years ago, when Catherine was still working in the optical field. She jokes that Ben's eyeglasses were the hardest pair she ever sold, and after that she had to retire to care for her ailing mother. Catherine and Ben's partnership grew, and the two have now been market farmers for over eight years. Recently, they expanded their 5 acre home place with an additional 10 acres to produce an even wider variety of the heirloom vegetables they love to grow and introduce to their customers.
Catherine is famous for her baked goods, most notably her brownies. Both adults and kids love to visit their booth at the farmers' market to see what delicious sweets and savories she has brought that week. In addition to several varieties of jams and jellies, Catherine bakes a wide selection of regular, sourdough, and sweet breads. In the cooler months, Catherine makes soups from the garden, such as Creamy Pumpkin, Butternut Garlic Bisque, Creamy Tomato Basil and Three Potato to sell at the winter Franklin Farmers' Market. All of these items are produced in their two certified commercial kitchens.
Ben has a lifetime of agricultural experience with livestock, as well as row crops, and Catherine grew up in a family where kitchen gardens were common. From a young age, she liked to get her hands in the dirt. What began as a home kitchen garden in 2001 has grown into the thriving Flying S Farms, selling at four different farmers' markets and a 30-member CSA, with plans to install high tunnels to offer produce year-round.