Jennifer Garner just might be one of the most likable people in Hollywood. Her Instagram account is full of relatable content about being a mom -- drowning in laundry, homeschooling during the pandemic, you name it. But one of the coolest stories about the popular celebrity is how she saved her family's farm and turned it into an actual business -- Once Upon a Farm Organics.
Garner's mother, Patricia English Garner, grew up on the family farm in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. Her parents had purchased the land in 1936 with her father's bonus from fighting in World War I. Pat Garner explained to Southern Living that she recalls that her parents had about $700 to purchase the land at the time.
"My parents didn't even have a car, so when they heard about the land that was for sale, they hired someone to drive them to the property. The farm consisted of a two-room house and 20 acres--minus 1 acre at the heart of the property, which was a Native American cemetery. Mother told me the story of Dad leaning on his heels and negotiating all day over $20. When they finally agreed on a price, the deal was sealed, and the land was purchased. It's been in our family ever since."
For years the farm didn't have running water or indoor plumbing but it was incredibly special to the family. Over the years it has been sold to various family members before Jennifer finally purchased the land in 2017 to keep her mother's memories alive. She also had a crazy idea to actually make the farm profitable. Her uncle Robert and aunt Janet had been the previous owners and Jen hired them on to maintain the farm full time.
The land hadn't been planted on for 40 years, but they got to work. There were plenty of memories there from times when Pat and her six siblings sold pecans and grew lettuce, radishes, and potatoes. But now, there was a whole new future in store for the area. Garner founded Once Upon a Farm with co-founders Ari Raz, John Foraker, and Cassandra Curtis with the dream of creating a special new kind of baby food. The company's website explains its vision and its focus on baby wellness:
"Once upon a time... we dreamed of bringing baby food back to the roots with organic fruits and veggies harvested from local farmers, blended with love and served fresh from the fridge. We dreamed of feeling less stressed about mealtimes because we could feed our little ones foods that give them all the nutrients they need - and then some! We dreamed of a company filled with co-workers we're happy to spend time with every day and that offers the balance between work and life that every parent needs. Now, with Once Upon a Farm, our dream has come true."
Jennifer told Southern Living that it was important for her to get healthy baby food options to busy parents.
"Getting homemade food in the hands of busy moms is important to me," she said.
Now, after the company first planted a harvest in 2018, business is better than ever. The organic baby food pouches have taken off. You can find them in the refrigerated section at a number of retailers including Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, Publix, Kroger, or even through the website. They have tons of deliciously flavored purees all without added sugar -- Mama Bear Blueberry, Straight From The Apple Tree, Magic Velvet Mango, Strawberry Banana, Farmer Jen's Sweet Potato Pie, Wild Rumpus Avocado, and even veggie blends like Green Kale & Apples. You won't find any preservatives, added sugar, dairy, GMOs, or anything artificial in this baby food.
This isn't just another applesauce brand; this baby food is farm fresh and really is something special built on the memories of Jennifer Garner's family.
This post was originally published in 2020.