Jessica Gentry cultivates better health by growing chemical-free food. (Jessica Gentry, Owner of Bountiful Farms was featured as "Person of Interest" in the June 2014 Lake*Sumter Style Magazine).
Dreaming big: When my husband, Gareth, and I were chefs in Palm Beach County, we noticed the texture and quality of the food was grown with love. The restaurant where we worked purchased food from private farms. We thought it would be awesome to grow our own food, so four years ago we bought our own farm in Okahumpka. That same year we also had twins, Dade and Jacey.
Taking root: It took four years to cultivate the land and build a greenhouse. I also conducted lots of research to be prepared for pests, bugs, and fungus. Plus, I wanted to increase my odds of growing a successful chemical-free garden.
Ripe for success: Locals enjoy coming to our farm and picking vegetables right out of the garden, which officially opened in November 2013. I’m happy to make other people happy. I grow everything: four types of squashes, 11 types of zucchini, five types of cucumbers, four types of cantaloupe, five types of watermelon, four types of cowpeas, six types of beans, three types of okra, 10 types of herbs, 15 types of tomatoes, three types of onion, and six types of lettuce. I also grow spinach, bananas, papayas, potatoes, and eggplants.
Guilty pleasure: Going anywhere without my children. We took the kids with us on a weekend getaway to celebrate our 12th anniversary.
In five years: I want to be growing food on all seven acres of our farm. I also want to have an online delivery service and a presence at farmers markets.
Favorite food: Homemade pizza with fresh dough, real cheese, and vegetables from my farm.
Favorite junk food: Cheetos. If they’re in the house I’ll eat the entire bag.
Dogs or cats: Cats because they are less maintenance.
Something nobody knows about you: I am very shy. When people come to my farm I am very outgoing. However, if I’m in a crowd of people I don’t know I am not nearly as talkative.
Pet peeve: Tardiness. Being late irks me to no end.
Worst grade in school: I made a D in algebra during my senior year at Leesburg High School. I tried so hard and did all my homework, but algebra just did not click. It’s strange because I took advanced placement classes in subjects like English and science.