RYAN, Iowa — Shae Pesek’s love for life in rural Iowa and farming was only natural. Like the generations before her, Pesek’s passion for agriculture was inherited.
But for Anna Hankins, the dream of farming in the Midwest was something she developed through studies and tales of her grandparents’ apple orchard in northern California.
Although they both discovered their passion for farming in different ways, it was this similar interest that ultimately brought them together and helped them develop a business of their own.
“We both love farming,” Hankins said. “I have always had a deep love of agriculture, too, and we wanted a way to connect more with our community.”
Pesek, 29, grew up in Delaware County and went to study at San Diego State University. Although she moved to the West Coast briefly, Pesek knew she would end up where she started: farming in rural Iowa. She moved back a few years ago.
Originally from Massachusetts, Hankins, 25, studied agriculture in college but did not discover her love for rural Iowa until she began visiting a friend in Solon.
In 2016, Hankins decided to extend her summer trips and stay permanently.
“For me, I loved growing things,” Hankins said. “I loved having the opportunity to care for something.”
Last year, Pesek and Hankins started their farming operation Over the Moon Farm & Flowers in Ryan.
“We had no idea what the response would be, and it’s been beyond what we could have ever imagined,” Hankins said. “We found that there has been a huge market for people that have ordered flowers to get dropped off for themselves. It’s not only a bouquet, but it is also someone that checks on them.”
Now every Tuesday and Friday, Hankins and Pesek drive around Delaware County dropping off fresh-cut bouquets of flowers grown on their acre of land. The operation also sells farm-fresh eggs.
Last week, about 10 people in Cathy Corkery’s yoga class arranged for bouquets to be dropped off at the studio following their lessons after Corkery told them about the new operation.
“In a small town and small area, we are all in it together,” said Corkery, the owner of Corkery Yoga Studio in Manchester. “I think there is a lot of community support for small businesses, and I especially think there is a lot of community support for young entrepreneurs.”
Shelly Schrader, the owner of Manchester business Thompson Shoes, also is among the customers.
“We as a local business in town like to support other local businesses, and it just so happened that when Shae (Pesek) was younger, she was one of the girls I coached softball for,” Schrader said. “(The flowers) are absolutely beautiful.”
Pesek said the weekly deliveries are not only easy because she knows the area, but fun because they allow her to catch up with old neighbors and friends like Schrader.
“It really feels great to come back and reconnect with the community and people I did not know prior,” Pesek said. “It feels good to be making a connection and making an impact in my hometown.”
The business soon will start selling sweet corn, and next year, the owners hope to expand the operation and sell vegetables and meat.