By Kristen Miller
DARWIN, MN - Sustainability in action is how Marco and Shari Marquez describe their homestead, Cedar Hills Farm, nestled along Darwin’s countryside on 40 acres of sustainable land.
Shari, a 2001 Dassel-Cokato graduate, and her husband, Marco, have been living on her family farm for four years, taking care of the land.
Her parents, Virgil and Kathy Anderson, are missionaries in eastern Europe.
With a desire to sustain themselves by farming and growing their own fruits and vegetables, the couple began selling their organically-grown produce at local farmers’ markets.
By bringing the fruits of their labor to places like the Cokato Farmers’ Market, the couple have had the opportunity to get to know their community and meet other like-minded people.
“It’s been really encouraging for us,” Shari said.
One of their main crops is peppers 400 plants to be exact.
The Cedar Hills pepper garden includes 12 varieties of peppers and tomatillos. Tomatillos are green, spicy tomatoes used for making chili, according to Shari.
Marco and Shari also have apple trees and home-grown pumpkins and are currently taking orders for fresh-baked holiday pies.
The couple recently hosted an open house and invited people to come and see just where and how they live.
“It’s very pioneerish,” Marco said.
To conserve heat and energy during the winter, the couple burns firewood to save on the high cost of fuel and only live in two rooms of the house, Marco explained.
Cedar Hills to offer massage and education
The couple is also using Cedar Hills as a business front to include everything they offer aside from fresh, organically-grown vegetables and fruit.
Marco, who is a certified massage therapist, is now open for business at Cedar Hills Farm, offering on site massage therapy treatments.
Before the massage, Marco recommends clients take a walk through the “naturally de-stressing” trail and enjoy the ravines and wildlife right in their backyard. The walk takes about 15 minutes, Marco said.
A partial treatment (45 minutes) is $45, and a full treatment (75 minutes) is $65.
Marco is also working on a “You Deserve It” program that would allow businesses and medical facilities, especially, to give special recognition to dedicated employees by providing free massages.
Soon, Cedar Hills will also offer private, specialized education and tutoring.
Shari is working to complete a degree in education and communications, and will be licensed in kindergarten through eighth grade with an emphasis on reading and writing.
Instead of working in a public education setting of 20 to 30 students in a classroom, Shari would like to work more closely with students in her own home.
“Through my student teaching experience, I realized it’s hard for one teacher to work effectively with 30 kids,” Shari said.
“A better approach is having a smaller group of students that you can focus on,” she said.
Teaching private education would also allow her to create and formulate her own lesson plans.
To make an appointment for a massage, order pies, or to learn more about Cedar Hills, call (320) 275-3037.
One can also check out their blog at cedarhillsfarm.blogspot.com.