February 9, 2020
By: Dawn Dufault
I had the opportunity to interview Sarah Murray of Heart Beets Kitchen in Berkley, MA. You may be familiar with Sarah from Heart Beets Farm, one of only a few certified organic farms in Bristol County. In 2014, Sarah and her husband Steve started Heart Beets Farm on a five acre rented portion of Kettle Pond Farm, located between the Taunton River and Assonet Neck in Berkley, MA. They have grown since then and now the duo organically manages 36 acres of farmland in the area. Their farm feeds the local community through their CSA, farm stand, as well as pick up points in Mattapoisett and Swansea. Expanding on their love of growing and providing healthy produce, Sarah has found a new way to deepen the farm’s relationship with the community while providing a valuable service to busy, working families.
A self-proclaimed “momprenuer”, Sarah created “Freezer Meal Workshops” about two years ago when a group of her mom friends expressed frustration with the daily dinner-time struggles of shopping, preparing and cooking healthy meals while juggling all the real-world stressors of modern life. That small group of friends decided to get together and do a group meal prep which as the name describes, is creating meals in bulk and getting them freezer-ready to quickly prepare at a later date. Over time, the group started meeting up once a month to take part in preparing meals for their families. Sarah quickly became “the leader of the pack” of the group because the kitchen had always been a comfortable place for her and she truly enjoyed planning menus, organizing the shopping list, and facilitating the workshops.
Seeing how much her small group benefited from these get-togethers, Sarah realized that other parents could also benefit from a meal prep workshop so she started Heart Beets Kitchen in January of 2019. Not only does this workshop teach people how to save time with meal prep, there is a social benefit to it. Sarah says, “Being a new mom to young children can feel super lonely and overwhelming. Coming together in a social setting with friends makes the task of meal prep much more manageable.”
By March of 2019 Heart Beets Kitchen was scheduling 12-14 workshops a month and customers started routinely booking a monthly meal prep workshop. While the workshops were a huge hit, Sarah also received feedback from folks saying they didn’t have time to schedule a workshop but still wanted access to healthy meals that highlight local produce and didn’t require expert cooking skills to prepare. That was when she knew that Heart Beets Kitchen could fill yet another need by offering prepared meals for people to purchase without attending the meal prep workshops.
When I asked Sarah what the best part was about her new business, she said that through her business she is forming authentic relationships with her customers and other local producers because her business is part of her and her family’s life. “I’m not just throwing around buzz words to gain customers and I am transparent and genuine about my product. I literally live at the farm that supplies the seasonal produce I use. My kids demand jars of the Kane’s Kitchen salsa that I highlight in my recipes. I love spreading the awareness of what is going on in our local food economy.”
The most challenging part she says is definitely being a “momprenuer”. While we want more equality for women, there are still those societal expectations that mothers should devote their entire life to their children. Sarah has learned and accepted that it’s OK to want an identity that is more than just “mom”. Like many moms who are working on an outside career or business, there will be days when our hearts are filled with guilt for spending too much time in front of a computer screen working hard to make it all happen. Even on those days, Sarah knows that what she is doing is setting a powerful, positive example for her children Juniper and Shepard.
So if you want to see how Heart Beets Kitchen can make your life easier and hopefully a bit healthier, visit www.heartbeetskitchen.com for freezer meal workshop information. All public workshops are advertised through the Heart Beets Kitchen FaceBook page and if you are interested in hosting a workshop in your home or workplace send Sarah and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out their Instagram @heartbeetskitchen.
New for 2020, you can find Heart Beets Kitchen prepared meals at the South Coast Open Air Market.