Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Future female farmers

The number of women in agriculture is growing. In fact, women account for 30 percent of female farm owners in the U.S. Meet one young woman who is planting the seeds to success for future female farm owners.

Sarah Frey, owner of Frey Farms and founder of Tsamma Juice, is talking about her new watermelon juice created at Frey Farms, a family business she took over at 16.

"Frey Farms is now the nation’s largest grower of fresh watermelons," she said.

But the road to success wasn’t easy. Frey started at age 16 selling melons out of a pickup truck to local grocers.

"I expanded that route, that delivery route, of fresh fruits and vegetables to 150 grocery stores in the Midwest," she said.

That eventually grew into a multi-million dollar business.

"Now, Frey Farms is in seven different states, and we do business with the top 25 grocery retailers in the nation,” Frey said.

But being a female farmer in a male dominated industry has had its challenges.

“I wish I had taken more risk," she said. "In retrospect I think, 'Gosh you know I should have bought that farm or I should have done this deal differently.'"

Frey said women tend to be more conservative in business.

“So for me, it was finding kind of that sweet spot and believing in myself and gaining that confidence," she said.

Frey's become a mentor to the women who work with her.

“She doesn’t even realize that she is a true risk taker,” said Hilary Long, marketing director for Frey Farms.

Her latest inspiration? Tsamma juice.  A runner herself, Sarah wanted a quick and convenient way for athletes to hydrate.

“Tsamma is the mother of all watermelons. Your body actually receives the hydration much quicker,” she explained.

Now busy marketing her new product, Frey has advice for future female business leaders.

"I want them to be fearless, and I want them to be able to go out into the world and feel like they can conquer anything," she said.

Frey Farms also grows and ships cantaloupes, sweet corn and squash. Frey has two sons she hopes will also join the family business one day. She has been recognized by the Produce Marketing Association foundation as "Eight Women Leaders You Should Know."


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