Meet Kayleen Christie Nelson Owner and Founder of Havenly Farm September 14, 2022 Article from Shoutout Magazine
We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayleen Christie Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below. Hi Kayleen, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today? I grew up on a blackberry farm in the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon. I always had a horse; we had a big garden and raised our own beef. This lifestyle defined my work ethic and shaped my passion for country life. I never really expected to recreate that life, but I have, and it brings me immense satisfaction. At Havenly Farm, we do all that in addition to having a flock of nearly a hundred chickens. I recognize that part of the satisfaction of endeavoring to live sustainably and homesteading, comes from how I grew up. I spent years living in cities, towns and suburbia and none of those places really fed my soul. I yearned for the country, having animals to care for and to live off my land as much as possible. My father was an inventor and an entrepreneur. His name is on the patent for the first mechanical berry picker. I grew up working on that machine during the blackberry harvest season. He also developed and ran a successful small business and I understood from him the challenges and the rewards of entrepreneurship. While suburbia is encroaching here in Fulshear, Texas, we have preserved an oasis at Havenly Farm that hearkens back to the agrarian roots of this region and allows me to literally enjoy the fruits of my labor. Part of what makes my work so rewarding is sharing the life I love. Photographers and their clients who come to the farm for photos often use one of our horses in their photos and they get to experience the peace and tranquility of the country and the joy of connecting with our animals too.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others? The photo venue business at Havenly Farm actually happened organically. When our kids went off to college and I recognized that because our friends and neighbors often asked if they could take family or graduation pictures on our farm, that there might be a viable business lurking there. A couple months after launching the business, Covid-19 hit. I worried that would hinder business but actually it kick-started it. Because this is a private venue and outdoors, it became a popular destination for photographers to safely bring clients during the pandemic. Part of what continues to make this venue special is that it is not only a unique property but visitors have the farm to themselves during their session. Havenly Farm is not just a beautiful place to take pictures but an experience that is distinctive. I love helping curate a memorable photo experience for Quinceaneras, graduates, expecting moms and families. I never grow tired of seeing the delight in a fifteen year old girl’s eyes when she dons her Quinceanera gown and climbs on my horse for her portraits. While this is hard work, physically, it makes it all worthwhile to see such joy captured in photographs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to? When my friends come to town, I love to take them to a baseball game at Minute Maid Park, dinner at Potente for one of the top three pastas in the country and a drive through River Oaks. Closer to home I love to bring them to our amazing local Fulshear Farmer’s Market to see the bounty produced in our area followed by a jaunt out to the Frydek Roadhouse or Essence House Cafe for lunch.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition? Unfortunately, my dad passed away before my dream of living and working on our farm was realized. As I reflect on his life, his work and his values, I know he would be so proud of what I have created. He managed the family farm, ran his manufacturing business and was always there, a solid rock for our family. In spite of his many responsibilities, he always had time to help the underdog, to provide guidance, encouragement and opportunities for those struggling to get ahead. In more ways than I consciously realize, he has been my inspiration and my example of how to live life.