Written by Aimee Blinder, CFM Committee Member
In our new interview series, we take time out to meet with a variety of our cherished vendors where they share interesting and fun perspectives on their lives.
Today’s spotlight is on Delanco Farms. Over six years ago Colleen & Russell Gonzales along with their two daughters moved to Paradise, Texas to follow their dream of creating a sustainable, organic principled farm on their six acres of land. Colleen and Russell recently sat down with me (virtually that is) and boy did we have a great time.
Where were you born and raised? Colleen was born in a small town in upper Michigan called Kawkawlin, while Russell was born in Albuquerque NM, but he actually spent most of his childhood in Evander, South Africa.
What does Texas pride mean to you? The couple has been in Texas collectively over 20 years, and shared “Texas pride means taking care of each other, Texas stands apart in that way.”
Is there a particular family tradition that stands out in your life? They both knew immediately how to answer this one, Russell shared “every Thanksgiving after dinner as a family we watch The Grinch, the Jim Carey version. The official transition to Christmas doesn’t begin until we watch it together!”
What do you enjoy most about being part of CFM? Delanco Farms has been a part of the CFM family for three years now. Colleen shared “the customers are very, very inquisitive about where their food is coming from and they are not afraid to chat with us about our farming techniques and offering, the direct line to the consumer is so satisfying”, and similarly for Russell “I really enjoy the relationship building, our customers care about us and we them. And the CFM staff is so welcoming and supportive. It really is truly like a family.”
What does it mean to be able to serve the community directly? For Colleen its simple, “it’s that direct food connection and the transparency. Giving customers peace of mind in their food sources. Our farm is chemical free and for our customers that have food allergies in particular, that is really important”, and for Russell “it’s helping people, and the full spectrum of interaction. Things such as hearing from customers who are starting their own gardens is such a treat.”
What is your proudest moment so far in regard to your business? They shared a heartwarming story that has stayed with them, “we have several customers with severe food allergies, in the fall we had a small crop of apples and one of the children with allergies hadn’t had an apple in a year and watching that little girl bite into that apple we grew just filled our hearts with joy.”
What is your true north star in life, or a motto you live by? Colleen’s motto reflects not only how she lives, but also how she farms, “do no harm”, for Russell “I live by do not govern your success by the failures of others. Meaning, I’m not going to step on others to earn a buck, I am all about being inclusive.”
What is something you are really good at that would surprise most folks? When we got to this question the couple both sweetly bragged on each other as only loving couples do, Russell said of Colleen “my wife has the voice of an angel and is too modest to admit it. Bluegrass was her style back in the day.” And in turn Colleen shared “Russell is a great storyteller, with great comedic timing and the ability to make you feel like you were there.”
Of your peer vendors, what is one of your favorite foods to get at CFM? They were both clear that they love all of the vendor products! But whoever your stall neighbor is often plays a role in what ends up catching your eye. Colleen shared “Paul from Wackym’s Kitchen definitely stands out with his cookie samples, and Hazel’s Kitchen is also a favorite” and Russell loves “Jill’s scones from Sundance Farms.” Yes, they see the trend here with baked goods, and are more than okay with that.
Do you have any pets that serve as a helper or companion in your daily farming? The family has 2 dogs, both are very good helpers. Dusty is an Australian Sheppard and Emmie is a Blue Heller. They are both great built-in alarms for visits by deer and rabbits, as well as the farm’s official mole and gopher exterminators.
If you could have any performer in the world come and sing at CFM one beautiful Saturday, who would it be and what song would you want to hear? For Colleen it would be “Gregory Alan Isakov he’s an indie folk musician. His songs really resonate for me” and for Russell the answer was swift and absolute, “Lionel Richie’s, Endless Love, reminds me of being younger and for some reason I love that song. I would probably cry.”
If you set out on a camping trip and could only bring 3 provisions from your offering, what would you bring and why? In her backpack Colleen would have spinach for health benefits, cucumbers because they are filling, and pineapple melon for dessert. And Russell would bring along cabbage, cucumber, and asparagus to create one mighty wrap!
If all of the CFM vendors were part of a band, what instrument would you want to play? As for Colleen she has always wanted to play the dobro, which has a cool steel guitar sound and as for Russell “I want to play 80’s air guitar with the full outfit, which includes short shorts, crop top, sweat bands, the full get up!”
If I could grant you a superhero power what would it be? For Colleen this was easy, “mine would be healing powers, helpful in farming too!” And for Russell it would be freakish strength like the Hulk.
In one moment if you could only choose cheese, chocolate, or coffee, which would it be? Again, as a great couple who complements well, it was chocolate for Colleen, and Cheese for Russell. Hopefully they are good at sharing.
For wintertime, North Face or Carhartt’s? They are a Carhartt Family all the way!
For summertime, pools or lakes? They both enjoy lakes and a local favorite is Lake Ray Hubbard.
For fall, apple cider or pumpkin spice? Being from Michigan for Colleen its apple cider which reminds her of her childhood visiting cider mills, and for Russell “it’s all about pumpkins!”
If you could raise any baby animal, what would it be? Hands down they both agreed it would be a baby sheep for the cuteness factor. And given they have a farm, perhaps one day….
What time of day is your most productive golden hour and why? Colleen shared, “mid-morning is when I feel like I have the whole day ahead of me and am my most optimistic, the heat hasn’t kicked in, and I feel my most productive.” Aside from farming Russell also works for the BNSF railway (one of the largest freight railroads in North America) so he rises at 2:50 AM to focus on his railway duties and then after a 12+ hour day shifts his attention to help with the farm. With his mighty long days Russell shared that his most productive time of the day is definitely early morning.
We hope you enjoyed your time with Colleen and Russell as much as we did. For more information about Delanco Farms visit them on their Facebook page or during an upcoming visit to the Market. And odds are if you serenade Russell with Endless Love, you may just get yourself a free piece of produce!
The Coppell Farmers Market provides groceries year-round and vendors are vetted to ensure they make and grow what they sell, so shoppers can be confident in the quality they receive! We’re asking shoppers to adhere to certain safety precautions, like practicing physical distancing, and wearing masks, during this time. Please be familiar with these guidelines prior to attending.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are accepted at the Coppell Farmers Market.
The market is located at 768 W. Main St. in Old Town Coppell. Open 8am-noon every Saturday.