Producer Spotlight: Stephanie Vinat of The AppaLatin Farmstead
Updated: Mar 10
Stephanie Vinat and her husband, Jeremiah Batla, run The AppaLatin Farmstead, a small organic farm focused on Latin American cuisine. They started the farm after leaving comfortable finance jobs in Los Angeles and traveling through Latin America to reconnect with Stephanie's Cuban and Puerto Rican Roots. They obtained their certificates in permaculture design and developed a passion for food justice.
Stephanie took the time to talk to us about her experience and how the farm got started. Listen to the interview below, or scroll down to find the transcript. The AppaLatin Farmstead's aji amarillo paste, a traditional Peruvian chili sauce which Stephanie profiles in the interview, is on sale in our market now!
Kade: Well, I guess to start from the top, how are you doing today, Stephanie?
Stephanie: I'm great, thank you. I'm ready for spring, but other than that I'm really well.
Kade: All right. So let's get started. Can you tell me about yourself a little bit, and your farm, for anybody who doesn't know?
Stephanie: Sure. My name is Stephanie Vinat; I'm the owner-operator of The AppaLatin Farmstead in Marshall, North Carolina. My husband is co-owner, co-operator, Jeremiah Batla. We started this farm together in 2018. We own about six-and-a-half acres out here in Marshall. Currently we have about a tenth of an acre in production, and that's what we call our market garden. That's where we're growing most of our vegetables and produce that we offer at market, and also all of the peppers, garlic, onion, that make our sauces are grown on a tenth of an acre. We're considered a small farm.
Kade: That's really neat. How did you get started doing this?
Stephanie: It's a bit of a story! I'm originally from Florida, my husband's originally from Texas, and we were living in Los Angeles. We were both in finance up until 2016, and our careers were great. It was a good thing, we were doing well, but we weren't feeling fulfilled. In 2016, after careful planning and careful consideration, we sold our homes in Southern California, and we decided to travel for a few years. During our travels, we spent a lot of time in Latin America. Specifically Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Belize. Really the focus was to spend more time in nature, reconnect culturally. I was raised in a bilingual household. I'm Puerto Rican and Cuban, and growing up in the United States, Spanish definitely became a second language. I was actually starting to forget a little bit of my upbringing, so traveling and spending this time in Latin America, speaking Spanish on a daily basis, it really helped to fulfill that void in my life. Being closer to my culture, being closer to the language I grew up with, all of that. It was very fulfilling.
My husband actually was able to attend Spanish-learning classes for English speakers while we were there. He did a six-week program in Costa Rica, which was amazing. During that program, he met a gentleman who had recently gotten his permaculture design certificate there in Costa Rica. He opened our eyes to this world of permaculture, and we ended up attending the permaculture school in Punta Mona and getting our permaculture design certificate. That was really the inspiration behind starting a farm, focusing on regenerative and permaculture practices, working with the land, and really just changing our lifestyle from this urban Los Angeles hustle in finance to this more...laid back, I guess I c