by Stefani Austin
Photography from Yonder Way Farm Instagram
Each day, over morning coffee, in carpool lines or between meetings, thousands of people from all over the country take time out of their busy days to do something truly remarkable: they pause to visit the farmers next door.
Okay, so Jason and Lynsey Kramer of Yonder Way Farm in Fayetteville, Texas, aren’t exactly neighbors, per se, to their scores of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter followers, but through the wonders of social media, they’ve become beloved and familiar—much like dear friends.
Despite the use of these progressive, modern-day connectivity tools, the Kramers’ farm is devotedly an old-school kind of place. “Our farming practices are very much in line with how farms used to be before the industrialization of food,” Lynsey explains. “We raise our animals the way they were raised before the goal was bigger, faster and cheaper.” Jason adds, “We use an old-school method of farming known as rotational grazing. That means our animals move around a lot. They work together to cultivate the soil and grasses. We desire every single animal on our farm to live the best life that it possibly can, in the most natural environment. Here, chickens scratch, pigs root and cows are fed a grass buffet from the beginning to the end, just as it was intended.”
On the Kramers’ Instagram feeds, those traditional farming practices look a lot like every good thing we’ve ever imagined life on a farm to be: the sunlight breaking over a two-hundred-year-old barn, litters of spotted piglets waddling after their mothers and hundreds of happy hens chasing bugs through green pastures—or a herd of cows grazing around a quaint yellow Victorian farmhouse while the Kramers’ four little girls help their dad package eggs for delivery. As one Instagram follower put it, “Y’all give us hope that good ol’ working hard and doing the right thing still exists.”
It’s the kind of pure, honest, family-centered way of life that feels rare, whole and timelessly true. You might even get the impression that the Kramers’ farm and traditional methods have been passed down from the weathered hands of generation upon generation of folks born and bred right on Yonder Way soil.
While the farm itself was once the local community hatchery, the Kramers are first-generation farmers. Just eight short years ago, they were living in the heart of Houston where, in the wake of 9/11, Jason had been inspired to become a firefighter. During this time, the Kramers also welcomed their first daughter. “We were living a pretty typical, but unhealthy, lifestyle,” Jason says. “That led to health problems in all three of us, so we looked into the local eating movement. We soon realized, though, that the farms around us were few and far between.”
Not long afterward, Jason’s aunt and uncle bought some land in Brenham and offered to let the Kramers live there and try their hand at raising their own food. It wasn’t long before that experimental hobby grew into a full-time way of life.
In 2011, the Kramers bought their own land in Fayetteville—an admittedly strategic move. This location, directly between Houston and Austin, allows them to deliver grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, eggs and pastured pork straight into the hands of customers in both cities. For these farmers, direct delivery and the ability to get to know their clientele personally have always been an integral part of their vision. “We have a deep desire to farm in a way that is transparent to our customers,” Jason says. “From the start, we wanted to build a community that would allow people to ask questions, to get to know us, our animals and our way of life. Our online presence is just an extension of that desire.”
Of course, customers always have the option of picking up orders directly from the farm and discovering, in person, the beauty that’s captured on the Instagram feed. “This farm was tired and weathered when we purchased it two years ago,” says Lynsey. “Yet we could see its potential. It has this way of drawing people and filling them up. It feels as if you’ve taken a step back in time to the era of the American homestead. We still believe in the inherent value of that small American farm, and we believe in the power of community through food.”
Yonder Way Farm makes scheduled deliveries in locations surrounding Houston, College Station and Austin. To find a delivery location near you, or to schedule a farm pickup, visit yonderwayfarm.com.