(Editor: Throughout the month of February, across our Blog and Social Media platforms, we will celebrate Geauga small businesses while highlighting GCPL resources for small businesses. We reached out to Geauga County small business owners and asked them for the story behind their businesses as well as any advice they have to offer other small business owners and those looking to start their own small businesses. The following is an interview with Catherine Chuha of G.A.R. Horizons.
GCPL: When was G.A.R. Horizons founded?
Catherine Chuha: 2009
GCPL: What is the story behind your business?

CC: I was in 4-H for two years, loved raising animals, and wanted to continue doing so. I started with three pigs, two goats as pets, and some meat ducks.

GCPL: What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome them?

CC: Not having grown up in a farming family, I started at square one, researching myself and talking with farmer friends to learn what I could. Thankfully in 2013 I met my farmer guy, Steve. He had the knowledge of raising cattle and chickens. I knew about pigs. Thankfully, he owned a tractor, so I no longer had to push wheelbarrow loads around. Together we’ve been able to feed farm fresh products to many families. In 2017 we sold over 15,000 pounds. Farming isn’t cheap. Feeding animals isn’t cheap either. I always said to myself I was working everyday just to pay to feed the animals! It was pretty much a hobby at first. Now we’re thankful to be able to do so much more.

GCPL: What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them?

CC: Social media and farming seem to clash. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. We always get questions of how the animal was raised, what they eat, etc. We know that our dedicated customers who’ve been with us from day one will come back. We do this for the people.

Mother nature is a challenge at times. Will the tractor not start because it’s  too cold? Can we grind feed or are the hammers frozen up? Can we plant or is it too wet? Is it too dry that we need to do extra watering? There’s  never enough time in a day. There have been many times we have ground feed in the dark or Steve gets home from his separate 40-hour-a-week job to complete all of our farm tasks. However, plowing up ground in the moonlight is just peaceful.

GCPL: What is your favorite part of owning a business?

CC: I love being able to have a flexible schedule and be able to talk to people for them to understand where their food comes from.

GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)? Have you ever used the library to help with this?

CC: I attend any farm-related conferences that I can. We’re members of Geauga County Farm Bureau and that has great resources for the farmer.

GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (Books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?

CC: Talking with local farmers and 4-H helped. Reading books by farm owners, like Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard and The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs by Joel Salatin.

GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?

CC: Do it! Life is too short! Dreams do come true.


Image result for joel salatin folks this ain't normalYou can find G.A.R. Horizons at their website and on Facebook. Catherine is currently reading Folks, this ain’t normal by Joel Salatin. Steve enjoys reading the Farm and Dairy newspaper each week