Meet Dottie and Dawn of 2 Old Broads Provisions
Dottie Johnson and Dawn Law grew up city girls- though both had ties to farming early on. Dottie wanted to be a farmers since she was 10 (with the 6th grade bibliography to prove it), and the best parts of Dawn’s childhood summers were spent on her grandparents farm. Both ladies ventured into farming eventually. Dawn transformed her home’s doable lot into an urban homestead. On Dottie’s small acreage in Milo, Iowa, you’ll find a few outdoor gardens, two high tunnels, plus miniature horses and miniature donkeys, sheep (some disabled), chickens, ducks, a dog, and cats (lots of cats).
When these two kindred spirits met, they immediately recognized a shared passion for chemical free gardening. In 2015 they established 2 Old Broads Provisions, selling their produce at a “pop up” stand at a neighborhood bar’s corner lot. The following season they sold at the Historic Valley Junction Farmers Market and this season they are vendors at the Beaverdale Farmers Market. Their specialty is heirloom and unique product -ranging from Mouse Melons, heirloom spinach, Orach, and heirloom cucumbers, as well as pastured raised and organically fed chicken and duck eggs.
“Farmers markets are a mainstay of our business. Most of our exposure is through farmers market,” says Dottie. “Plus- we love meeting new people, many of which become regular customers and friends!”
Dawn agrees. “At this point, as smaller vendors, we could not sell enough consistently to grocery or specialty stores, so farmer’s markets are a good fit. Farmers markets allow us a place to grow our brand and sell our produce, all for a reasonable booth fee. I think the best things about farmers markets, for me as a vendor, are having a busy, convenient location, plus the advertising and promotions that are provided. This time of year we are so busy with growing, weeding and harvesting all by ourselves (not to mention jobs and animals to take care of), that promoting ourselves as often as we would like can take a back seat, just when it is needed the most.”
Currently the ladies are hard at work turning the land of their new city plot, which they hope to have producing this season. These pesticide-free growers have even caught the attention of Chef White, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s personal chef, having specifically requested their fresh veggies for the couple’s Des Moines concert.
2 Old Broads Provisions remains locally loyal and invested through market. “I live in the neighborhood where our market is located,” says Dawn. “It is enjoyable for me to meet new people and see old friends. It is fun to talk to customers who are interested in what we do and what we know. I like when they are surprised with our information, like what and how much can be produced in a city backyard much like their own, or that the wool dryer balls they are handling came directly from Dottie’s sheep.”