Jody, the owner of the Homestead, grew up on the outskirts of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills. She is the oldest in her family of four children- three girls and one boy. Her father farmed and had a large dairy operation. Her mother helped on the diary, and yet still had time to fix delicious meals around their family table. Jody’s fondest memory from childhood is coming home from school to find a fresh-baked pie on the counter and a pot of chili on the stove! She liked to help with the cooking, but rarely did very much baking. Her childhood aspiration was actually to become a nurse. During her teen years, she worked at the local hospital as a nursing assistant. Following high school, Jody attended nursing school, graduating as an RN in 1993. Two weeks after graduation, she married an Indiana farm boy and moved to Wolcott! Once there, she worked as a nurse for an OB/GYN doctor for several years when she and Mike were first married. Then they started their family, and Jody had the privilege of staying home with their five girls: Amber, Larissa and Leandra (twins), Kenzie, and Erin- all of whom were born within six years! It was a busy time for Jody, but a blessed time that she treasures. It was during that time that she gained interest in cooking and baking. She would often spend time poring through recipe books and planning meals after the girls were in bed. Several years later when their youngest daughter Erin was two, a school nurse position opened at Tri-County, their local public school. Jody accepted that position, and enjoyed six years being the school nurse. In 2008, Mike and Jody lost their 100+ year-old newly renovated Bahler Homestead and all of their belongings in a devastating house fire. Clinging to their five girls, they slowly picked up the pieces and rebuilt on their family farm. In 2009, they were thankful to move into their new country home. In 2010, an opportunity opened to begin a family business that they chose to name “The Homestead”. To this day, they enjoy every opportunity to serve their customers both in their Remington and Carmel locations!
Jody loves God, her family, late night conversations with Mike on their front porch, the smell of freshly-turned Earth, cookie dough, line dried sheets, fresh bread hot out of the oven (slathered with REAL butter), a clean home, Kansas sunsets, walks on their country path, and the blessing of life and breath on a glorious morning. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity she and Mike have had to raise their family on the farm, and to let their girls experience the joy and satisfaction of hard work, early-morning sunrises, the show of fireflies dancing over the bean field at dusk, newborn puppies in the barn, freshly-mowed grass, fort-building in the haymow, the first eruption of spring’s rhubarb plants, the smell of field corn on a hot summer day, power-washing the barn, picking up field rock, sliding down the avalanche of fresh-picked corn in the grain truck, selling hogs, snapping green beans, and precious mealtime around the family harvest table laden with the fruits of the Earth!
Jody’s official title is owner/manager of The Homestead. She loves what she does here at the Homestead. It’s a privilege for her to come to work with a wonderful staff who works hard, is honest, is God-fearing, knows how to have fun, and who supports she and Mike and their family in every step of this journey! Mike continues to farm the land and raises hogs (a little different for Jody coming from a dairy!), but he is also very involved here at the Homestead. You won’t see him baking bread, but you may find him fixing any appliance, paying the bills, remodeling the Homestead, building props, running delivery to WestClay, collecting the trash, …always with a whistle and a smile! Jody says, “Mike is the wind beneath my wings, and we enjoy working alongside each other… planning improvements, making business decisions, occasionally shopping at Menards together, and also occasionally enjoying a get-away from our daily grind, cherishing those times of peace and quiet!”
A few things you may not know about Jody is that she graduated from a high school class of 35 students, and while there built a large, beautiful oak Roll-Top desk in her shop class. It took her two years to finish, and eventually also burned in their house fire. She also is very talented at playing the piano, and her daughters have fond memories of her playing to them while they drifted off to sleep in their younger years. The last song would always be “All Night, All Day”.
Jody finds her inspiration in the satisfaction of happy customers and employees and in the privilege of serving others. In our busy, busy world, convenience often trumps quality- but here at the Homestead, we embrace the two as equal! Jody takes pride in the fact that our products here today are made just the same as they are on her family Homestead… from scratch, and with quality ingredients turned into delicious home-style casserole dishes, bread loaves, cookies, scones, pies, and more.