There’s no defining moment that was the beginning of Hopkins Heartland. It has been an evolution, a test of every human emotion, and awesome confidence between sisters. Although separate visions led Amy and I back to the farm to be individual business owners, we found our groove in Ag Tourism, and we found that we complemented each other in business well, leaning on each other to develop our strengths.
I came home to the farm to begin a B&B. After 20 years away in the Equine and Veterinary Nursing industry, this was my calling, to renovate the Farmhouse for the hospitality industry. The weddings began shortly after the B&B opened, creating wedding weekends at Covered Bridge Inn.
My sister led a different path. 10 years ago, Amy purchased preserved farmland adjacent to our family’s farm, to ensure more contiguous farmland forever. She turned her beekeeping hobby into a Honey business while continuing her career as an aerospace engineer and VP of Capella Space.
Amy was visiting me in my office as I was fielding a high volume of phone calls from potential clients who wanted to use the farm to celebrate one-day weddings or a party but didn’t need the expansive wedding weekend. As I turned away one after the next, we had our Ah-Ha moment. With full eye contact, we both uttered the words Honey Bee Barn, and the vision of my small, turn-key, single-day, venue exploded from my brain like a rocket. Full steam ahead, I knew the path forward.
The idea of Honey Bee was the catalyst that I needed to develop a brand that could flourish and grow into a venue that offered multiple spaces and year-round opportunities. Developing a brand was foreign to me, and I dove right in. I needed a brand that could scale, and yet allow us to remain stewards to the farm & family. Hopkins Heartland is the result, and I still get goosebumps when I say it out loud.
The roadblocks that I have faced with Hopkins Heartland are significant, but not the purpose of this blog post. One day, when I am able to write the full story, I will detail the years of a single female who took on the challenges of Delaware legislation development, Delaware Agland Preservation confinement, the planning & permitting obstacle course, financing, and of course, Covid-19.
The purpose of this blog post is to illustrate the tenacity and courage through the early stages of Hopkins Heartland. With no education or experience in creating a small Delaware business, I persevered to form something that is a sought-out destination, and a business that now has a foundation to scale successfully. Every time I was told no, I has to pivot and find my way to yes.
The foundation of the Hopkins Heartland brand would never have happened without my Amy. The support, constant care & compassion, and lovingly pushing me to find solutions when I was ready to give up. Her belief in me, in this brand, and in our sister-act is unwavering. Our common goal is to make our dad proud, and build his trust that the Hopkins women are worthy candidates to become stewards to the land that he’s worked his lifetime to maintain. This year, with the tragic loss of our brother, my father has also been faced with a series of course changes for the future of the Hopkins Farm. Now, with Hopkins Heartland as the blooming seed of change, Dad can take a deep breath, knowing that his girls have got this.
This blog post was inspired by an article written by Katie Ward, photos by Morgan Figgins, for the Mid Atlantid Farm Credit Leader Magazine. This month is all about Women in Agriculture. You can read the full article here:
October 7, 2021