FARMGIRL PIES & DEEP ROOTS FARM
Generating Happiness and Community through Local Food
STORY AND VISUALS BY DELIA PALMISANO
Eating fresh, healthy foods and knowing the people who grow them go hand-in-hand. Communities around the Winding Road region continue to develop around these principles, with the goal of bringing local, delicious food to the people they serve. Husband and wife team Cale and Melanie Linscott, who own and operate Deep Root Farms and Farmgirl Pies, are farmers who are doing just that.
The Linscotts moved to the Athens area in 2007 to property that has been in Cale’s family since 1898. “For us, moving back to the farm and generating income off the land has really been like getting back to our roots. Nobody had farmed it for probably 50 years or more. So to come back and revive the land, produce food and raise our family there, just felt very much like bringing things full circle,” Melanie said.
The family eats as locally as possible and supports other regional farmers and entrepreneurs. “Having that sense of community and knowing the person that’s doing the services for you, that’s just always felt really important for us,” said Melanie.
While Cale manages the day-to-day operations on the farm, Melanie has mostly worked outside of the home as a doula and birth worker. In 2019, while in the hospital with one her birth clients, she said she was reading an article about generating happiness. “The article was talking about finding work that’s meaningful for you, that supports you and helps others and can generate income. And my doula work definitely did all of those things, but I started feeling like I wanted to be doing something in addition. So I started thinking, what can I do that can bring joy to others? And I thought, well, I can bake a pretty good pie,” she said.
Thus, the idea for Farmgirl Pies was born.
The couple sells their produce at the Athens Farmers Market. In August 2019, Melanie started selling her baked goods there as well. The pies, which are made from primarily locally sourced and organic ingredients, have been extremely popular. “I’ve pretty much sold out every week,” she said. “Everything that I bake with is non-GMO. It’s important to me, even if eating sweets and treats, to eat things you can feel good about.”
Initially Melanie used her home kitchen to bake her pies. “Farmgirl Pies had kind of been my side hustle. It was something that I really only did on Fridays and Saturdays,” she said. But with COVID-19 restrictions, her birth clients have slowed and she has had more time to focus on her pies. Since November of 2020, she’s been baking out of a commercial kitchen in Athens three days a week.
In 2020, she received a seed grant from Ohio’s Winding Road to help promote her business. She also created a “Pie Share,” which has helped grow her business without going into debt. Members of the share get a monthly pie subscription and allows her to experiment with different recipes. She also has a student intern from Federal Hocking High School helping her bake three mornings every week.
She feels incredibly thankful that she’s had so much success in such a short amount of time, especially given the circumstances. “COVID very much shifted my focus in 2020 and I’m very lucky to have a business that contributes to the income of our family and one I truly really enjoy doing.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Delia Palmisano is an Americorps member serving with Ohio’s Winding Road. Delia is a visual communicator and multimedia artist who believes in the power of storytelling. She feels a deep connection to the natural world and enjoys exploring the rolling hills of Appalachia with her husband and children.