Hi, I’m Aaron Brungot, owner of Brungot Farms. Brungot Farms isn’t really your normal farm as we are currently online only for all but about 35 days a year. Now as you know, behind every successful guy is a woman that really holds it all together. Keeping me in line is my girlfriend, Larissa Alberson; most would call her my better half, I prefer to say she keeps me whole.
Here is where I state my standard escape clause: I’m far from a professional blogger! English was a class I just hoped to pass in school, I much preferred to be in a math class or roaming around outside on the near 400 acre school campus. Thankfully, Larissa is really good at English (everyone remembers that girl you always got to write your papers…) so she will translate my gibberish to more understandable and properly spelled English—teamwork makes the dream work! Together, we hope you will join us on what promises to be an amazing journey that will likely test even the strongest minds, patience, & hearts.
If you’re familiar with Brungot Farms, it’s most likely because you have purchased one of our Christmas trees or a bottle of maple syrup from our online store or at a pop-up location around Austin. Since 2014, we’ve set up shop for Christmas at the Twin Lakes Family YMCA in Cedar Park, TX. For as long as I can remember, I have loved Christmas trees. I grew up on farms and at one point even had Christmas tree fields practically in my backyard. I want to bring that back into my daily life but, of course, there are a few major barriers:
- I live in Texas. While Texas is great for so many things, the environment and climate is really not conducive to growing most varieties of Christmas trees. When most Christmas trees in other states are buried under the latest snow fall, we are here strolling around in shorts and t-shirts in record high temperatures…mid 80s in February, I mean really, Texas?!
- My house sits on a third of an acre lot, in a land locked city, where property values are rapidly rising. Luckily I have great neighbors who don’t seem to mind the delivery trucks, employees, and Christmas trees coming and going 18 hours of the day during tree season.
- My bank accounts aren’t exactly padded! After taking nearly 2 years off to launch Brungot Farms and working side jobs just to keep food in the fridge, I’m not exactly rolling in cash. Last year, I made the decision to return to corporate America to help fund the business. I was apprehensive to rejoin the rat race after working for Dell for 16 years but it was the right decision—health insurance alone will bankrupt you!
Now For Larissa, she’s pretty amazing herself. I mean seriously, what girl with an established career in nursing would choose to be with a guy that can barely pay the bills? Well, somehow I charmed her. (I think it’s because I mention baby goats, chickens, and ducks all the time). When we met, she was working 12 hour night shifts in the ICU at one of the best hospitals in Austin and in graduate school full-time for her Master’s degree in nursing education. Soon after, she moved to day shift, then before you know it, she got an offer from the UT School of Nursing to be an Instructor in Clinical Nursing. Yes, I have a very smart nurse to keep me safe from myself!
I’m sure by this point, you’re asking yourself why two people with good careers would want to escape the city and build a Christmas tree farm, right? What if I were to tell you we want a farm in the country AND a farm in the city? Yes, you read that correctly. This dream has evolved into so much more than just Christmas trees. It’s changed a lot over the last few years, but there are some things Larissa & I have realized that we really want in our life and at the top of that list is a happy, healthy family that lives on a few simple values: live responsibly, give back, and stick to the basics. I grew up in New Hampshire with gardens, animals, berry picking, and hunting and fishing for fun and for food. It was how my family made living cheaper, supplementing my parents’ small pay checks with fresh products from the countryside.
Larissa and her family are from the other side of the country from a small town in southern New Mexico. While she didn’t grow up on or around farms, her parents instilled the same types of morals and goals in her and her brothers as my parents did for me. Like many families in this country, Larissa’s parents worked hard to make sure that there was always food on the table and that the kids never had to go without but it was rarely easy. The USDA reports that the average family of four spends between $146 and $289 a week on groceries. Now let’s break this down, to understand this better. If the average parent works a 40 hour week, this means between $3.65 and $7.23 per hour of their wage goes to the grocery bill, OUCH! And we wonder why making healthy food choices gets deprioritized.
This first blog entry is starting to get a little long, so I think I need to get to the point. Larissa and I have spent long hours talking about where we are now and where we want to be. We agree on our plan and hope to make it happen quickly, but we’ll have to overcome many roadblocks to make it work and we’ll need your help! We want to build an urban farm like no other. We want children and adults to understand what’s in their food and where it comes from; to learn how their actions and making responsible choices can provide better health individually and as a community; and how when we take care of ourselves, it creates a better future for everyone.
We want the urban farm to have educational experiences that show the life cycle of things like Christmas trees, chickens, crops, and so much more. We also want to partner with other local farms to bring their products to market, not only in Austin but all over the country. At the same time, we want to bring outside farmers’ products to our customers in Austin. Imagine traveling the US and discovering other region’s local products. With the power of the internet, you’ll be able to tour farmer’s markets nationwide without leaving the comfort of your home.
Will you help us bring this dream to fruition which will help to bring healthy, affordable food to the average American? We plan to do this using sustainable and organic food practices so we can keep Mother Nature healthy too! Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the Christmas trees, pumpkins, and the greenhouse that will be on the farm as well!
If this sounds fun to you, will you let us know? Whether you’d like to keep track of our progress or you want to help out, we’d love to hear from you!
1. Tell us what you think in the comments.
2. Sign up for email updates here so we can include you on future blogs, events, and updates!
3. Spread the word by inviting friends and family to join! #BacktoBasics #BrungotFarms
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