Farm Spotlight: Kat the Farmer

April 28, 2023

Kat Johnson has had her hands in the dirt one way or another since her high school days in a Northern California suburb. In 2013, she moved to Floyd, Va., and has managed several area farms over the years. In 2021, Kat began a new venture. She cleared and fenced and planted a half-acre on the outskirts of Floyd. She began raising the ingredients she needed to create "a salad-centric farm and food company" called Kat the Farmer.

“I started my farm and food company because I wanted to share the freshness and joy that locally grown salad and fresh ingredients can bring,” she says. “I have always been passionate about growing food.”

These days, shoppers can find Kat’s veggies and/or farmer-made salad dressings in retail stores like the Roanoke Co+op and Riverstone Organic Farm's Store in Floyd. Kat also sells each week at Blacksburg Farmers Market and is a regular in the LEAP Farm Share.

“I became a salad-centric farm mainly because I am crazy about good salad, and very picky about variety selection, color, texture, and shelf life,” says Kat. “But also because of the inherent constraint of having a small landbase to grow on. I needed a crop that was high-value, quick to grow, and so I settled on the salad theme and built complimentary products like salad dressings to try and create a business big enough to support a livelihood.”

Kat starts all of her plants from seed in a small nursery on her land and raises them in her fields. She focuses on crops like salad greens, fresh herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccolini, and microgreens – raw ingredients, destined for salads.

When asked: What’s one thing you want everyone who eats your food to know about you? She answered:

“I hope they know I care about them very much and think about them often as I work. As a customer, they are welcome to ask me questions. That's one of the biggest benefits of local food – that transparency, and the ability to influence your food supply directly through open feedback.”

Kat’s salad dressings are truly delicious – gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and preservative-free, in flavors like maple mustard, lemon garlic, and herb garden. Find out more about what Kat grows and makes at her website: katthefarmer.com.

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