This episode’s remarkable guest is Sarah Frey. The New York Times dubbed her the Pumpkin Queen of America because she grows more pumpkins than any other farmer in America. In 2016, she sold 5 million pumpkins. She owns approximately 15,000 acres of farmland in Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and West Virginia.

She was raised on an 80-acre farm without indoor plumbing in Southern Illinois. It is 260 miles south of Chicago, 99 miles east of St. Louis, and 127 miles Northwest of Owensboro, Kentucky. She attended high school in college while working at a tractor supply. She borrowed $10,000 at 16 to buy a truck,  started a melon business at 18; she bought her parents farm and built it into the Frey Farms brand that sells fruits, vegetables, and beverages. Refusing to play by traditional rules, she began talking her way into suit-filled boardrooms, making deals with the nation’s largest retailers. Her early negotiations became so legendary that Harvard Business School published some of her deals as case studies, which have turned out to be favorites among its students. 

American Farmer Sarah Frey

She has written two books, For the Love of Pumpkins: A Visual Guide to Fall Decorating with Pumpkins and very recently The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life–and Saved an American Farm

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The lessons of bootstrapping out of rural poverty
  • The combative nature of chickens 
  • How God talked to her via a full harvest moon
  • How a snapping turtle altered her life 
  • Why stealing thunder is a good thing to do 
  • How to get into the backdoor of Walmart 

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur trying to bootstrap your way to success, this is the episode for you.

We start with a discussion of chickens because Sarah had a traumatic run-in with a chicken when she was a kid. And I wanted an update on that. 

Here’s the Pumpkin Queen of America, Sarah Frey.

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