Chelsey Kasten

Fabulous People: Chelsey Kasten

Chelsey Kasten is the owner of Elkhorn-based Crooked Oak Farm, a small flower farm specializing in cut-flower production located in southeast Wisconsin. Learn about Chelsey Kasten…

Follow at: @crookedoakfarmwi

Hometown: Huntley, Illinois

First job: Cashier at a grocery store as a teenager. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Anything and everything outside! Of course, I love spending all the time I can in my garden but I also enjoy working on projects around our farm, boating when we have free time and exploring new parks with my son.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment is having the courage to put myself out there through many networking events alone. In the corporate world, you typically conquer networking events with co-workers but as a small-business owner, I am my own co-worker and I knew I needed to market myself. Those events truly jumpstarted my business and helped me gain my first customers. 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: Last year I had a severe infestation of insects that could have destroyed my entire crop. I knew nothing about these insects until they arrived, and I spent hours researching them, reaching out to colleagues and organizations to find the best route to remedy the situation. I was able to save my crop and am more prepared this growing season to combat these issues. 

Chelsey Kasten Family close up

Someone who inspires you and why: There are countless fellow flower farmers that inspire me daily. They started their farms the same way I am (very small) and are now extremely successful. For someone closer to me, I am also inspired by my husband’s drive and it makes for a healthy “let me show you what I can do too” competition. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Allow yourself a trial year (or two) before going all in. Mother Nature is ever changing, and you live in your own micro-climate. Learn about your growing space first. 

Favorite quote: “Everything happens for a reason.”

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am a first-generation farmer in all aspects of our farm. I have no previous experience in flower farming, only perennial/landscape gardening. And last year was my first year growing vegetables.

What makes someone fabulous: Their confidence, the way they connect with other people, and how they make other people feel. 

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