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Tiffany Kammerer: Creating an Empowering and Fulfilling Life

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In life, some people prefer to take the high road. Others may lean toward the road less traveled. Then there are those who take a path in life that leads them down a few dirt roads, and it is on that particular journey that self-reliance becomes the hallmark of the modern-day homesteader.

Tiffany Kammerer is one such pioneer. While she might humbly dismiss such praise, Tiffany represents an ideal that many may desire, yet few might achieve. She has embraced the notion of living simply; using alternate resources; returning to her roots; growing her own food and being self-sufficient. To Tiffany, life is not just about working countless hours at her modern job just to pay the bills. She prefers to also invest her time in growing her own food, creating her own products and learning new skills in which her whole family can participate. Authenticity is the common denominator among all of her homesteading pursuits.

A self-described country girl at heart, Tiffany grew up in Galt and now resides in Lodi. She and her husband, Micky, to whom she has been married 14 years, have two young children. While their combined homesteading endeavors may seem like a full-time job, Tiffany refers to them as “side hustles.” In reality, these rustic pursuits are homegrown passions. 

Wearing Many Hats
When not digging in the dirt, canning vegetables, making honey or fashioning skin care products, this couple presents as any other married couple with kids keeping the family wheels of productivity spinning. Micky is the manager of neurosurgery at University of California-Davis Medical Center and is completing his nurse practitioner’s license. He also is an experienced aesthetician. Tiffany, who earned a degree in health care administration, has a career in radiology and ultrasound. However, time management is a skill both of them have mastered, as the work they do “on the side” is a fun departure from their “real jobs” and gives them an outlet they crave; one they look forward to every single day.

“I was raised on five acres and was a tomboy growing up,” related Tiffany. “I loved being outside, enjoyed adventure and also showed horses. Micky was raised on 50 acres and is a fifth-generation grape farmer; he was the first in his family to leave the family farming business.”

Tiffany’s farmland experience was not as vast as her husband’s, yet she learned a lot of practical homesteading-like skills from her dad. “We had a garden when I was growing up,” said Tiffany, who then explained it wasn’t until her dad fell from a tree and broke his clavicle when she was just a kid that a new door of discovery opened for her. “My dad was on disability for a year so he spent his time canning vegetables and making homemade ice cream. I loved it,” she smiled. “And Micky is a good cook and can make some great homemade pasta.”

Pomegranates?
Tiffany and Micky decided they wanted to raise their family with the lifestyle of preserving the ideal of family farming, which led them to their current way of life. “In 2017, we bought the property on which we now live,” said Tiffany, who noted the property came with an abundance of pomegranate trees. Going against the suggestions of some family members to get rid of them all, Tiffany and Micky opted to see what kind of creative inspiration those pomegranates would offer. They soon discovered they loved spending time going out together and hand-picking the fruit, which they subsequently sold on a roadside stand through the honor system for about a year. People then asked if Tiffany would consider making syrups and jelly from the pomegranates. She’d never considered that before, but why not? Challenge accepted!

“We tried it out and sold to friends and family the first year,” noted Tiffany. Word of mouth soon gained considerable velocity and Tiffany now cans pomegranates year-round. But why stop there? “We also love to garden, and I personally enjoy picking our own crops and feeding my family from them,” said Tiffany. They also feed their scraps to their animals, including a pig and a lamb. Translation? They butcher and eat their own meat. “We don’t have any cattle on our land but we do buy meat from friends who do,” said Tiffany. “We also have chickens from which  we enjoy farm fresh eggs.”

Tiffany grows her own peppers and jalapenos and enjoys experimenting with making different food products with them. With so much productivity on the agenda, it might seem there is never enough time to do everything, especially raise a family, but when you have passion for what you do, time is just a construct. “We all have the same 24 hours each day,” explained Tiffany. “Our secret is that we love what we do and spend our time on our farm after work just decompressing. I find it very meditative.”

Learning by Doing
Tiffany’s children attend private school but she emphasized the work around their property provides an entirely different type of educational landscape. “We are all involved in the activities around here, and both of my kids have learned to plant and till,” noted Tiffany. In fact, her daughter installed and harvested honey from their on-site beehive when she was just six years old. “She has no fear of the bees,” Tiffany laughed. The honey is used to make lotions and massage bars, which the family sells on Etsy. 

Tiffany also makes soaps, bath bombs, candles, natural deodorant and various skin care items that are part of her online collective. She is continually inspired in her mission due to her love of helping others. “I am very natural in my skin care approach and in what I put in my body,” she said. “I had skin cancer in the past and as a result changed to clean, natural products through a hunt-and-gather type of lifestyle. I love to share what I learn with others.”

Tiffany and Micky always seem to have something new in the works, and recently Micky discovered an interest in making bonsai trees. It seems this down-to-earth family is never at a loss for something exciting to learn and discover. “Our lives are never boring,” Tiffany noted. “There is always something happening at our house.”

With a focus on preserving what they grow, such as pickles, canned beets, applesauce and even fig compote, eating their own meats and homegrown foods, and creating natural products from the harvests to which they tend, Tiffany and her family have transitioned from consumption to production in a way that benefits not only themselves but also those around them. “We mainly do all of this for us, but we do sell some of our products to friends,” emphasized Tiffany. “We often joke that we were born in the wrong century!”

In addition to their farming activities, Tiffany and Micky own and operate an Airbnb on their pomegranate farm called the Lodi Farmhouse. They also operate another in town called Mariposa Cottage.

As word of mouth continues to grow about this farming family’s ventures, Tiffany and her family have definitely been transformed, becoming more intentional as they live and eat, which is one of the most empowering and fulfilling things a person can ever do.