Meet Kaity Farrell, the maker and beautiful soul behind FP fave Fare Isle.
Surrounded by summer’s first lupines with a laughing child in her arms, Kaity Farrell looks perfectly at home ensconced in all the beauty that her island home of Nantucket has to offer. Though the weather may now be frigid, the heart of her business (aptly named Fare Isle) — and self — seems to radiate with the spirit of warmer days. You may recognize Fare Isle’s staple cookie mixes, flower barks and bath products from our Love Shop, all essentials for an affection-filled February 14th and, sharing her delicious recipe with us in December, I just had to know more. Read on to learn more about Kaity and her gorgeous Nantucket life, then be sure to check out the full selection of her wares, available on our site!
Where are you from originally? Do you feel growing up where you did had any influence on your eventual path to creating Fare Isle?
I’m from a small town in western Connecticut. I’ve always felt a deep connection to nature. As a child, my parents always took my siblings and me on long walks in the beautiful woods of Litchfield County. I think spending a lot of time outdoors laid a strong foundation for the values I hold today; values which naturally cross over into Fare Isle, with respect and honor for Mother Earth at their core.
How did you make your way to Nantucket?
I followed my love…a common start to many a wash-a-shore’s story. I had just graduated college and did not know really much at all about Nantucket . When I stepped off the ferry, literally right onto cobblestone streets, there was certainly some magic in the air and I fell deeply for this enchanted piece of sand out at sea.
The island is widely known as a summer destination, but it’s just as gorgeous in the off-season. What’s your favorite part of living there year-round?
Nantucket has a wonderful year-round community, with a strong do-it-yourself vibe. There are lots of creatives, artists, makers, foodies and gardeners out here that call the island home. I love September here. The summer masses have just left, and it’s quieted down, traffic flows smoothly once again, locals start emerging into town once again. The weather is usually always very nice, sunny and warm, and the ocean temp is still swimmable, but now the beaches are nearly empty and you often have a nice stretch of sand and sea all to yourself.
How did Fare Isle come to be?
I had envisioned working for myself and creating in some form or other for a long while, starting in my early twenties. My partner shared in that vision. We knew we wanted to be self-sufficient as we started our family. Our offerings came naturally from our skills and passions, with a focus on food and wellness. Fare Isle has grown from a small local farmer’s market stand to cross-country and overseas shipments, for which we are amazed, delighted and full of gratitude.
What role does Nantucket play in your offerings from Fare Isle?
Oh, the island is a very large part of Fare Isle, from the name, to the wild ingredients we harvest, to encompassing that self-made spirit of many islanders present and past.
When did you decide to focus on your business full-time? Was that a difficult decision?
When I became pregnant with our son Iley. It wasn’t all that difficult because we had a clear vision for what we wanted to offer.
You offer such a wide variety of items – from bath and body potions to hot cocoa mixes and flower bark – do you have a favorite category or item?
I love making new things. It’s wonderful when people respond to them and they become big hits, like our Rocket Cider – our take on a traditional immune-boosting tonic of homegrown chilis, herbs, spices, citrus-infused into raw apple cider vinegar and then sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. It’s become very popular locally, and people claim that it really does help them get through cold and flu season. It also tastes amazing, if you like spicy things, and we use it in salad dressings or as a condiment on dinner to add a little extra flavor and spice.
How do the seasons influence what’s available in your shop?
Some of our items are limited to the amount of material we harvested, like wild beach plums, wild rose petals, wild rosehips, homegrown habanero chilis and herbs, and locally grown cranberries. For those items, we dry or freeze the raw ingredients and make fresh product from them to order until we’ve run out. So far we’ve been able to keep a good supply of materials year-round.
The images on your site and blog are so gorgeous. What role does photography play in your life? Are you self-taught?
Thank you! I love making photographs of my recipes, my little boy Iley and the beautiful natural surroundings on Nantucket. I am self-taught and continue to learn as I go.
Could you describe a typical day in your life?
Every day seems to take on its own flow, and the seasons seem to guide that flow, whatever time of year it may be. Our son is in school now, so mornings are spent getting him ready. I get a lot of work done while he’s at school, whether that be making product, packing and shipping orders, or computer work. In the summers we participate in our local farmer’ and artisans market, so Fridays and Saturdays are always busy preparing and setting up/breaking down our display. I usually take one day a week to make/style/photograph and write up a recipe for the blog. We try to make time to play outside every day or even just pop up to the beach for a bit of fresh air — it does wonders for my brain.
Do you have any daily rituals or mantras?
My little family likes to watch the sunset whenever we can — it’s a nice way to wind down the day and take in a bit of Mother Nature’s wholesome medicine. Any time spent in nature grounds me, and fills me with immense gratitude.
What’s the best advice you’ve received in regards to your business?
Do what you love to do.
And the worst advice?
Never say “no”. Sometimes you have to say no and for good reason.
Any personal or professional goals you’re hoping to accomplish in the next year?
I’d like to begin focusing on a Fare Isle cookbook and recipe videos, and contributing more content to publications.
To be ‘free’ means…
To be able to live, act and speak as you please, and I would add that one should hopefully do so in harmony with the earth and all of her beings.
All images by Kaity Farrell.