County Line Acres offers produce and baked goods

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Rachel Faust and Dalton Bolsinger's children enjoy helping with the family business, County Line Acres LLC near Graham. From left are Rachel Faust, Lincoln, Finnegan, Dalton Bolsinger and Grayson. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

County Line Acres, LLC proprietors Rachel Faust and Dalton Bolsinger of Cedar Rapids are inspiring Clayton County residents to embrace better health through whole food offerings. 

The ambitious couple has been married for five years and has three children under the age of six – Grayson, Lincoln and Finnegan. Rachel is an instructional coach at Viola Gibson Elementary School, Cedar Rapids, and Dalton is employed with the Iowa National Guard. "I support teachers by observing, co-teaching, modeling and co-planning sessions to foster student learning," said Faust. "I also teach LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling), which is based on the science of reading for district teachers, set up all-state testing and facilitate our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). I love my job and I'm excited about my future in education as I see myself being a principal in the near future." 

The young entrepreneurs purchased Rachel's grandmother's home on Skip Level Road, near Graham, where they began cultivating their market garden. They were inspired to create County Line Acres, LLC while they were living in China. "We lived in Hangzhou, China which is about a 45-minute train ride from Shanghai. I moved from Monterrey, Mexico to China to teach at the Hangzhou International School," she explained. "I taught fourth grade in China for two years. Our oldest child was born in China and let me tell you, that's a story! After the insane experience of his birth, we thought we should probably move back home."

The couple enjoyed going to the vegetable and fruit markets and other shopping venues. "We would enter the top floor of this huge building that had a very distinct smell and no air conditioning. There would be booth after booth full of vegetables, noodles, rice, eggs, and seafood. We were able to buy fresh produce at unbeatable prices. We absolutely loved seeing all the gardens as we took the train to Shanghai. We started to envision a market garden of our own," she shared. 

Dalton began researching market gardens and the possibility of cultivating the 10 acres of land they owned in Graham one day. "In April we decided to buy a camper and start a market garden. By August we realized that our small-town support was strong and we should get a business license," Faust commented. 

On Aug. 8, 2021, County Line Acres, LLC became a reality. "We couldn't have achieved this goal without our supportive customers and community," they said with gratitude. "Our goal is to provide fresh, chemical-free produce to our community." 

County Line Acres offers fresh produce, wholesale options, as well as CSA shares. Fresh baked goods were also added to the product line. Faust fondly remembers baking, cooking and gardening with her grandmothers. "When my Grandma Miller, who I enjoyed cooking, baking and gardening with, passed away we purchased her property. Dalton and I can't wait to move back home. My Grandma Faust is the one that gave me her secret donut recipe that so many love."  

The self-taught culinary artist has grown her recipe repertoire throughout the years. "I watch The Great British Bake Off, and am inspired to challenge myself. I made a Panettone – an Italian Christmas bread that took seven days to make. It is my hardest bake to date. It was delicious – totally worth the stress!" she exclaimed. 

The family's time spent in China also offered creative opportunities. "A lot of the things we loved weren't available so I had to learn to make it. While in China we made our own bread, pies, ricotta cheese, and tortillas so we could have them," she explained. 

Faust furthered her baking ability when they returned to the United States. "Once I got home I started baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and then this year made my way to yeast! I have been selling so much bread, buns, cinnamon rolls and sourdough bread. Breads and yeast dough take a lot of work and tender love to get right. I see why people want to buy fresh baked bread — you can't beat it," she said with a smile. 

An amazing husband, who is her number one fan, supports Faust's entrepreneurial spirit. "My husband is amazing and supports my passions and crazy ideas. He knows that I'm very ambitious. Once I set my mind to something I won't give up until I succeed. I probably exhaust him a bit, but he started this whole idea!" she chuckled. "I can't stand to see any food waste, so I taught myself how to preserve food. When customers started to enjoy my baked goods I added them to our market stand."

The couple's children enjoy helping out in the garden and in the kitchen. "Our kids help so much and I can't imagine a better way for them to grow up. They are helping in the kitchen learning about math and science. My oldest knows how to make sourdough, fold it, and shape it. Our middle baby loves to bake, especially cookies."

"They are learning how to grow their own food and how to create a sustainable life," she added. "Not only do I feel better knowing what they eat, but we are providing them with experiential learning and that makes it easy to work so hard."

The couple is waiting for commercial kitchen licensing. "We are not licensed yet, but Iowa laws support small businesses and in-home bakeries," she noted. "We are hoping to be fully licensed by April, that will allow me to start selling food! I see a lot of frozen meal kits in the near future! Making dinners easy with homegrown veggies for families." 

Faust also enjoys quilting, sewing, growing perennial flowers and interior house painting. She is currently pursuing her third master's degree. "There aren't a lot of things I dislike, except running. I'm not a big fan of that business,” she laughed. 

Faust concluded, “County Line Acres advocates for what is best for each individual or family and their needs. It’s hard because many people don’t choose to eat fresh food, because of busy lifestyles, finances, and time. We want chemical-free produce in the hands of our community. We want our community to see that eating fresh can be easy and quick! We want our kids to see that they can create a sustainable life. No one knows what will happen in the future, but we know that we are preparing our kids and ourselves to weather any storm.” 

For additional information follow County Line Acres on Facebook to place orders and stay up to date. 

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