Feb 17th 2022
Emily Tweten is a fifth-generation dairy farmer, living with her husband, their four children, and her parents on their farm in southeast MN. After studying for four years at colleges in both Wisconsin and Barcelona in Spain, and working as an events producer for 12 years, she and her husband decided to get back to their dairy roots. Emily now runs a regular blog and YouTube channel called Hearty Sol, where she shares their family farm story and inspires others with cook-from-scratch recipes, gardening, and insights into their “live simply on purpose” approach to life.
A passion for feeding people
Emily and her family run the non-profit, One Gallon at a Time, which Emily describes as a passion project brought to life. The mission is to break the myth that there’s too much milk out there or that there’s little demand for it. Emily believes that there is a big demand for dairy products and a need for nutritious calcium and vitamin D, but there are communities that struggle to access it while it’s still farm-fresh. As part of the project, Emily and her family deliver fresh dairy milk and dairy products straight to food shelves, mission events, and backpack programs, so that they can rest assured that folks are receiving the freshest products possible.
Emily channels her love of feeding others into her role as Market Director for her local farmers’ market. Each week, the family brings all the food they can down to the local farmers’ market and senior living communities, not only to feed the local community with fresh, local produce but to raise awareness of how important it is to support local farmers. The family’s produce includes fresh garden veggies, homemade sauerkraut, sheep hides, cut flower bouquets, leather jewelry, black Angus beef, and other homegrown produce. Emily also uses her family’s knowledge around food scarcity to teach people different ways to store and use the produce they purchase. After all, she says quoting Mother Teresa, “If You Can’t Feed 100 People, Then Just Feed One.”
Emily’s passion for farming and feeding the local community is rooted in her family history, and some would say her DNA! Dairy farming started with her great-grandma, whose passion for cows won over her husband’s worries about joining the industry. Emily’s grandpa took over from there, and her dad took over after him. With years and years of experience in the industry and generations of knowledge, they’re committed to this way of life and aim to provide milk and dairy products in the most beneficial and environmentally-friendly way possible.
The challenges of farming
Emily is quick to point out the challenges with farming. She tells us that the family has been through “so many years of economic downturns that we have gotten good at teaching our children about grit, sticking with something even when it’s hard, and enjoying the simple wins that this life provides us!”
In terms of her everyday essentials, Emily says that comfort is everything, which is why her family relies on KEY Apparel to get the job done. Their farm workwear needs to endure the extreme Minnesota weather, constant washing cycles, and the rugged environment, which means each piece needs to be durable and long-lasting. The kids also love to get involved on the farm and the KEY winter coveralls are a firm favorite of theirs. Emily and her husband share the parenting philosophy, “if a kid can, a kid should,” which means having the right workwear for their four kids is important. Emily loves the winter insulated kid’s coveralls, saying, “They fit right and aren’t super stiff and hard to move in, they make it easier for the kids to do their work.”
Aside from the quality of KEY clothing, Emily tells us that the first thing that drew her and her family to KEY Apparel is the work and collaboration with Feeding America. “When a brand aligns with our beliefs as a family and a farm, we begin digging deeper. Understanding that when missions match, there’s got to be something real, to a company like that!”
When they’re not busy working on the farm, Emily and her family like to leave the farm for a few days and adventure around the country. They’d love to take their kids to different countries one day and show them how much there is out there. “Having a well-rounded idea of different languages, foods, and cultures, may also help them truly appreciate where they come from and the life we get to live.”