FEATURED VENDOR – GROW YOUR OWN FREEDOM
An Empowering Couple: Meet Danielle Nuhfer and Jordan Scroble.
by Rachael Chamberlain
Our market was created to offer the community a wide range of locally grown produce and products made by the vendors themselves. Weekly visits enable shoppers to build a relationship with the farmers and artists that bring us fresh, delicious, and wholesome goods. Over the last several years, there has been a big push by consumers to know what exactly is going into the food and products they buy. We want to know who and where the goods come from, and to easily be able to read the ingredient list. Husband and wife team Jordan Scroble and Danielle Nuhfer created Grow Your Own Freedom in 2014 with the focus of helping people understand what they put in and what they put on their bodies. Always willing to answer questions, they pride themselves on educating their customers about backyard gardening and the ingredients used in their products. Market offerings include vegetable and herb seedlings, natural personal care products and remedies, and backyard garden bed consultation and construction.
If you have stopped by the Grow Your Own Freedom tent, I am sure you have witnessed how passionate Jordan and Danielle are about their business. Since meeting them, I have wanted to learn how the business came to be. Danielle was happy to answer all of my questions which I share with you below.
What year was GYOF born? What came first, your backyard garden, the products, or raised bed building?
Officially we started our business in the early spring of 2014, but it’s been a work in progress since 2009 when we had our first apartment together in West Reading and planted some tomatoes and peppers in containers. I had always had a garden growing up but this was Jordan’s first taste of growing his own food. After that summer, he was hooked and it really just expanded from there. The more we learned how to do things for ourselves, the more empowered we became. It first started with food and then it expanded to making our own personal care products. The more educated we became about what we put in our bodies and the uncertainty of the mainstream food system, we wanted to help educate other people about these same issues. This same learning process happened as we discovered more about the ingredients we were willingly applying to the outside of our bodies. It became evident to us that this was something we were very passionate about. From this passion, we decided to officially start Grow Your Own Freedom!
Do you have backgrounds in skin care products or is this something you just decided to dive into?
Our background is essentially years of creating, modifying, and experimenting! We are very connected to the natural world and because of this it is very important that each of the products we provide our customers is completely natural and as close to 100% organic as it can be.
What is your mission or future plans for GYOF?
We pride ourselves on not just selling products and services, but also on educating each of our customers about backyard gardening or about why we make choices about certain ingredients in our products.
One of our main missions is to continue to use the highest quality organic products we can reasonably source. We calculated that about 95% of our raw materials are organic and we hope to make it as close to 100% as we can in the upcoming months. This is important to us because we want each of our products to be safe and beneficial for customers. Our goal is to develop high quality everyday products that can begin to replace some of those products that are laden with synthetic ingredients and artificial fragrances.
We choose to use certified organic ingredients because we want to do our part to promote and “vote” (with our dollars) for organic cultivation of all the materials we use. It’s an easy enough realization that each of us wants the food we eat to be free of pesticides and grown with care. That’s how we feel about all of the butters, oils and essential oils we use. It takes a tremendous amount of plant material to produce essential oils, so if we are purchasing them organically, then that, in turn, is supporting a lot of organic growing!
We also would like to keep building up awareness about what we do for our garden bed business. As far as we know, there aren’t a lot of local companies that provide this kind of service so the more we can spread the word, the better! Our service includes a free consultation, building the bed, installing, adding the compost, planting the plants and setting up the soaker hoses! As I like to say, you come home from work and you have a brand new garden set up for you and your family to enjoy!
Our business is really what I would consider a “lifestyle business”. When we started, our goal was to create a business that would help people while also affording us the opportunity to do something we love, believe in and enjoy doing. Because of this, one of our major business goals is to continue doing what we love and helping people in our community while making sure we are still taking care of ourselves and finding balance in how we live our daily lives.
How long have you been selling at markets? What do you like about selling at markets and what is your favorite thing about being at AVFAM?
This is our second full season selling at farmer’s markets. In addition to Antietam, we are involved in West Reading and Penn Street Farmer’s Markets.
Honestly, I don’t know if we would have found the success we have without the people we have met through the various farmers’ markets. They have allowed us to be available for potential and returning customers at a regular location each week. Through these opportunities we have been able to really build strong relationships with people. Relationships like these don’t always happen in other forums or through print advertising. Because people have met us and speak with us week after week, they trust that we are out for their best interest whether it is to have us to their home and install a backyard garden or to try the newest balm, salve or soap that we have created.
Another really important connection and invaluable benefit of farmers’ markets are all of the other vendors we have met and work with. We have learned so much from each of them. Because last year was our first year, it was great to get advice, direction, share ideas, help each other and refer others to our fellow vendors. From the customers to the vendors, farmers markets have provided us with a real community that we feel so grateful to be a part of!
We love the people at Antietam! We are having such a great time meeting people and discovering a part of Berks County that we were not previously very familiar with. We are truly grateful for the opportunity!
If someone came to you and was only able to purchase one of your items, what would you suggest and why?
Jordan and I talked a lot about this question and we think it would be our “Headache Helper”. This was one of the first products that we made that really showed us the healing power of nature. We previously took aspirin for tension headaches and after we made that first batch almost three years ago, we’ve barely kept aspirin in the house because Headache Helper works for us. We want to provide people with the opportunity to experience that for themselves because we didn’t believe it until we had that experience. We learned that just by making that small shift in how we responded to something as common as a headache could have profound positive impacts on our health!
Want to know more about Grow Your Own Freedom? Visit www.growyourownfreedom.net or stop by and chat with Jordan and Danielle on Saturday. May I recommend picking up some “Save My Skin” salve while you’re there? I have been using it on my entire face since the first market day and my skin has never been smoother! My kids are even asking for it by name when they have a dry patch of skin. My next goal is to get my husband hooked on it!