Mimi and Richard Beaven
Little Ghent Farm, Ghent
Mimi and Richard Beaven take a break in the farm store to show their loyal companion, Bumble, some much-deserved love.
“There seem to be two types of people who visit us,” says Mimi Beaven, co-founder of Little Ghent Farm and Made in Ghent, as she inspects a doughy, garlic pesto creation she has been experimenting with all morning in her farm store and kitchen. She gestures to the Dutch doors in the corner and explains, “Some peer over [the door], and aren’t quite sure if they should come in, so they walk away; others come right in, hang their coats, and begin to have a chat.” Mimi then approaches a couple who would fit into the latter category, and hands them her newly finished product for a test run; they perk right up, and happily agree to try it and report back next week. Richard Beaven, Mimi’s husband and co-founder of the operation, wants patrons to have more of “a relationship than a transaction,” says Richard.
Mimi’s kitchen and farm store is usually the first stop for visitors to the farm. Inside, a large overhead door opens, allowing sun and crisp air to pour over the many jellies, pickles, pâtés, pastries, and sourdough breads that lavishly span across tables, spilling out of wicker baskets and carefully displayed under glass domes.
Outside, Richard is crisscrossing their 75 acres as he keeps operations running. There is an on-site farm stay constructed from reclaimed woods and outfitted with modern amenities (a woodburning stove, full kitchen, and loft area). There are animals to care for (including Black Freedom Ranger chickens, foraging pigs, and egg-laying hens), workshops to organize on subjects like food photography and branding, and dinners and events to plan. According to Richard, the work requires a “5 to 9 day instead of 9 to 5” some days.
Daily scenes at the farm include a crowd of chickens, fresh bread and baked treats, and Tricia Wancko, Mimi’s right hand in the kitchen.
Perhaps the only one taking it easy is their mild-mannered Red Fox Labrador, Bumble. Visitors can follow her around for a relaxing “day in the life” tour of the property. Recently, she led a just-engaged couple around the grounds, while Richard and Mimi handled some memorable photography.
It’s hard to believe that a few years ago the fields and barns were overgrown and out of shape — the results of a 20-year slumber. The couple’s English countryside upbringing, combined with Richard’s creative background in advertising and photography and Mimi’s experience in agriculture and cooking — her father and grandfather were both chefs — gave the charming pair the vision and confidence to build this magnificent place up from the weeds.
Little Ghent Farm has a farm store, and open grounds. They offer a farm stay (available directly or through Airbnb), educational workshops, farm dinners, and private event hosting; www.madeinghent.com