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I Love My Community: Spenker Family Farm

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For our Agriculture issue, HERLIFE Magazine had a conversation with Sarah Spenker Pratt, owner and operations manager of Spenker Family Farm, and Kate Spenker, owner and herd manager, Spenker Family Farm, to discuss their roots in the community.

HLM: How long have you lived here? What do you love most?
SSP: I have lived in Lodi my whole life. I grew up on my family’s generational farm and was homeschooled by my mother, Bettyann. I went to Concordia University Irvine for four years but moved back to Lodi as soon as I graduated. I worked at Michael David Winery for a year after I moved back and soon joined the family business full time. My family has farmed the same piece of property for over 120 years. I love being in Lodi because I feel deeply rooted to this community. Lodi is a big part of my family’s history, and with Spenker Family Farm LLC I hope to play a part in Lodi’s growing tourism future. “Stuck in Old Lodi” is in my blood!
KS: I grew up in Lodi and my family and business are located there, so that will probably always be home. I love that it still has a small-town feel, even as it grows. Folks are friendly and supportive. There are great restaurants and entertainment (wineries, museums, music, theater). And the farmland! We are so blessed to have such great agriculture. The food grown here spoils you for life.

HLM: Where is your heart inspired to serve the community?
SSP: After COVID, when we were starting to re-open for business in 2021, my family and I got together and decided that our goal for the year was going to be “selling and bringing joy to our customers.” I want to bring happiness to my community. Whether it’s at my business, or my home, making someone smile is what keeps me motivated each day.
KS: Connecting folks to agriculture. I love our multi-generational farm and that it has both plants (grapevines) and animals (goats) that make amazing foods (wine and cheese!) I think it’s important for folks to understand why we farm the way we do, so that they are inspired to support sustainable farms for future generations. Our family business focus is Bringing Joy and it’s a great aim on a personal level as well. It’s so fun to see folks connect with the animals and the land that produces their favorite foods and experiences.

HLM: What sparks joy in your life?
SSP: Even though I work on a farm, I love spending time outdoors on a hike with my husband. I have also recently discovered the joy of cooking and using Spenker Family Farm goat cheeses in all
my recipes.
KS: Time outdoors with my favorite animals, being with family, eating amazing goat cheese!

HLM: Outside of work, where is your time best spent?
SSP: Not at work? I love what I do, but farming and owning a business do take up most of my time. But on the occasion I’m not working, I love going to the theatre to watch a play or musical. Stockton Civic Theater is my favorite.
KS: Creating. I love to draw, paint and sculpt. I also enjoy playing the piano.

HLM: What are the top three goals on your bucket list?
SSP: Visit Japan; make Spenker Family Farm a top Lodi tourist destination; have a small acting role in a movie or TV show.
KS: Try a regular yoga class. I’ve only done Goat Yoga where the baby goats “help” you with your poses and encourage laughter as well as relaxation; do a cheese tour of the U.S. and Europe; build a sustainable business for my family and community.

HLM: What are you most proud of?
SSP: An accomplishment I’m proud of is creating our Goodnight Goats events. It was a random idea I had while milking goats and with the help of my family and staff it has become our most popular and adorable event! It is so much fun to see people enjoying the baby goats and learning about farm animals in a relaxing and joyful environment.
KS: Helping design our creamery and tasting room building. There are things about it I’d tweak a bit now that I know more about building construction and how we and our customers use the space, but overall I love how welcoming, functional and homey it is.

HLM: What key event has had an impact on your life?
SSP: When I was in college my senior project for my theatre major was to direct a show. I directed Princess and the Pea. It was a show for children so I didn’t know how popular it would be on a college campus. On the opening night it was standing room only as people packed into the theatre to watch the show; I had to watch from the catwalk. It was thrilling to see people enjoying something I had worked so hard to create and so humbling to watch as I saw all the things that others created under my direction. I didn’t make the costumes or tell the actors how to say all their lines, but my creative staff and actors took the vision of the show and made it something special. It was the moment I knew I wanted to be a leader, not to be in charge of everything, but to inspire people to work together to create wonderful moments and things.
KS: The first time I had to help a goat when she was giving birth, I was hooked. That mama only needed mild assistance, but it was a great feeling knowing I had the skills to help. Now it’s hard to keep me out of the goat pen! Especially during baby goat season.

HLM: What is your favorite quote?
SSP: “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing” The Santa Claus 2.
KS: “If just saying CHEESE can make you smile, imagine what eating it will do.”

HLM: What are you currently reading?
SSP: I love listening to audio books while I milk the goats each morning. Right now, I’m listening to The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith.
KS: The Stories We Tell by Joanna Gaines is next on my list. I hope to get to it once all our spring baby goats have been born and I can stay awake long enough to read a chapter before bed!

HLM: What is your favorite food?
SSP: Anything with goat cheese!
KS: Currently my favorite is our chocolate chevre. It is so addicting and delicious on graham crackers, fruit, brownies, or just by the spoonful!