Back to the Land

In 1998, after nearly two decades of wandering—first on tours of the Far East and California with the Marine Corps, and then via long-haul trucking throughout the Lower 48 and Canada—Bob Mishler decided it was time for a change of pace. “I was just tired of moving around and being on the go all the time,” the Texas native recalls. “I wanted the slower, hands-in-the-dirt life.”

He certainly found it—or at least part of it. Mishler’s Uncertain Farms, an eight-acre plot in the Sand Hills south of Seguin named for the unpredictability of a life in agriculture, and his offshoot business M circle M Canning Company (a nod to the person who not only gave him life but also taught him how to add value to his surplus harvest), have provided the bucolic heaven he desired.

Slowing down doesn’t seem to be part of the deal. Besides harvesting thousands of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables this season—both in the ground and hydroponically via several greenhouses he recently added—he has also expanded his on-site professional kitchen operation, through which he sells more than 100 different types of jellies, preserves, pickles and salsas made with many local ingredients—from strawberries and jalapeños grown right on his farm to blackberries from Poteet. Mishler admits that keeping up with everything can be challenging. “I am the canner, but I’m also the farmer and the weekend salesperson, so trying to keep up with it all—sometimes there are items that don’t get made,” he says. “But it keeps it all fresh because it’s not the same thing up on the shelf week after week after week.”

As if all of that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Mishler also offers homemade ice creams and 20 different varieties of artisanal breads—from a Mediterranean olive to a cream cheese-and-walnut twist, a crowd favorite at several San Antonio-area farmers markets, and now available in the Austin area, as well as at the Lone Star Farmers Market in Bee Cave. And though he jokes that he’s pretty unfamiliar with the concept of a “day off,” he’s more than happy with the decision to go back to the land. “You’re never going to get rich doing this, but it’s a good life,” he says. “I always wanted to get back to a simpler way of doing things; farming is as back-to-basics as you can get.” —Nicole Lessin

For more information, visit uncertainfarms.com