Skip to content

Resources / the blog

A young boy, man, woman, and teenage girl look at one another smiling posed next to a tree with a dog.

Ogie Farms: Finding Healing and Hope

Apr 22, 2024

Ogie Farms: Finding Healing and Hope

In the quiet suburbs of Tulsa, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Ogren family found themselves on a journey they never expected. Their story isn't just about moving from city life to homesteading; it's a story of resilience, healing, and hope that emerged from the shadows of a life changing diagnosis.

By Shannon Walker

A young boy, a man, a woman, and teenage girl sitting in the entrance of a decorated Yoderbilt Greenhouse with brown stain.

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff and Rebecca Ogren. Although I followed their beautiful farm on social media, I had never talked to them. However, their welcoming and friendly demeanor made our conversation feel like catching up with old friends.

The Ogrens had lived near Tulsa and had always desired to have more space. However, in 2012, their family of four—Jeff, Rebecca, and their children, Addison and Jace—confronted the harsh reality of cancer. Both Rebecca and her mother received breast cancer diagnoses simultaneously, a situation that was unimaginable.

They had dealt with a significant amount of cancer within their family and that was what prompted them to evaluate how they were living, what they were eating, and what they were putting not just into, but on their bodies. That furthered their desire to do things differently, to live differently.

Young boy leaning on man's shoulder with teenage girl next to him and woman sitting in front of them with a dog

Their search for land stretched out into a 2–3-year process before they found the farm where they now happily reside, homestead, raise and homeschool their two children. Like many others, they began this new journey by adding animals including chickens, goats, and pigs - and, it just keeps growing. Rebecca added, “We’ve always had a desire to grow our own food, so that’s where the garden started – the greenhouse was a dream.”

Their original garden site was where the Yoderbilt greenhouse now sits. At the time, they only grew vegetables and herbs, but always with the desire to have a greenhouse. “Last year, two things happened, we purchased an additional 5 acres adjoining us, which brought us up to a little over 14 acres, then we decided to go ahead and purchase the greenhouse and redo the whole garden area.”

At that time, their photographer friend mentioned a need for locations where people with land could permit photographers to shoot. So, they decided to open up their homestead for photography, adding it as an extra source of income. But, with the addition of the greenhouse, they would be able to elevate their offerings as well as grow their own food.

At this point of the conversation, I was curious to know how they found Yoderbilt. Jeff spoke to that and explained he had done a lot of research online. They knew what they wanted visually and there were various kits out there.

Since moving to their farm, he has taught himself how to build things, and how to definitely repair things. “I originally thought I would buy a kit or even the plans. I ran across Yoderbilt and saw it was just over in Arkansas. So, I looked it up and once I discovered they were fully assembled, loaded on a trailer and delivered, I started thinking about the amount of time it would take me to build one. I think we just sat down and decided it would be easier to get one – even though I think it was slightly more expensive, but from a labor perspective it was a tradeoff."

And one they were willing to make. Saving this amount of time allowed him to be able to expand the garden to an area of 50x60. “I spent my time redoing that entire area, I just didn’t want to tackle it all. So, we decided to go ahead and purchase it.”

"We thought it was so well built, had the floor and the windows, it was so functional. There were so many things related to the craftsmanship, we thought it was a good investment.”

Jeff & Rebecca Ogren

Exterior photo of a Yoderbilt greenhouse with brown stain with a hill in the background.
Yoderbilt Greenhouse with white fencing in front of it and trees in the background

I then asked about the infamous “Oklahoma winds” and was curious to know their experience related to the greenhouse. “It really handles them. It’s taken the brunt of the wind and it’s held up extremely well. We’re really pleased with it.”

As a professional photographer myself, I was curious to know how renting the greenhouse out to professional photographers came about, was it their idea or the friend they had mentioned that is a photographer. Rebecca stated, “their friend did mention that the greenhouse was something people were looking for from a photography perspective, but it was also something we wanted.”

Their Yoderbilt greenhouse was delivered to them in February 2023. Jeff described the delivery as “fine and the set up was perfect.” Then they began trying to launch it as a photography backdrop by getting the greenhouse area ready. “We set it up for photographers and filled the beds with flowers. We’re at a place of trying to use it to grow food for our family and keeping it aesthetically pleasing.” This often means working around the busy calendar that is now booked with photographers. Once they posted their fall and Christmas photography session information online, “it blew up”. When I spoke to them in October, it was booked out every weekend from then until December 15th, generating a new revenue stream for their homestead, and thus their family.

Image of man, two young boys, and woman leaning in toward one another in the entrance of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse

When I asked if it had been successful for them as far as their goals, they informed me it had been “very successful”. We discussed so many additional ideas such as an event space for workshops, crafts, mom’s night out, a pop-up shop for their lovely goat milk soap – we decided the list is endless.

Rebecca stated, “We feel very blessed to be here, and to be on this land and stewards of it.” And that is reflected in all that they do.

Four teenage girls sitting in the entrance of a Yoderbilt Greenhouse posing

They utilize their homestead in various ways, one being producing goat milk soap. I asked how that came about and she explained, “After the cancer diagnosis we started being very aware of what we were using, and it was a natural thing for us once we got the goats. We started milking and making products we could use on our body.”

Rebecca is also a licensed Aesthetician and worked for several years in a dermatology office. “I didn’t make soap then, but I definitely had my hand in the skin care industry”. They began making the goat milk soap in 2019 simply by playing with it “for ourselves - learning what we liked and what we didn’t.” Like so many things, friends began asking for it and it grew from there into a business – much like our story here at Yoderbilt.

Although they attend just a handful of shows a year, they now sell their soap online. Their goat milk soap stands out for its meticulous attention to detail, from the care of their goats and daily milking to the choice of ingredients. This unique approach sets their soap apart from others on the market.

"Many are made with powder instead of raw milk and you lose a lot of benefits from that process. A lot is made with poor quality ingredients. There’s a lot of chemicals, there’s a lot of fragrance and all of that is transferred through the soap into your body – we’re very passionate about having clean ingredients in our products.”

In closing, I am reposting this from their website “We raise registered Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats, Kunekune pigs, and American Bresse chickens with care and respect. We craft cold-process, clean ingredient goat milk soap using raw milk fresh from our herd of dairy goats. Our property is available as a photography venue for professional photographers. It is our pleasure to share our piece of the Oklahoma prairie with our community in this way.”

A Yoderbilt Greenhouse with a sunset in the background

The sky is the limit for this family! It has been an honor to get to know them and I hope we make a trip to Oklahoma soon. As the sun sets over their homestead, casting a golden glow over their land, the Ogrens are “living the dream” through a lot of hard work and passion, determination, and with a space that gives back - their Yoderbilt greenhouse.

All professional photography taken by Julie Goodroe Photography and Erin Kaye Photography

Connect with Ogie Farms