Trossbach breaks mold of ‘farmer’s daughter’
DAMERON, Md. — Mary Trossbach said being a girl didn’t define her growing up on the farm. And she said she’s not letting age define her now as a business owner.
“Many people have the ‘farmer’s daughter’ outlook of a woman in this industry or what they should be. But really, we can do all the same tasks and get just as dirty as any grown man,” said the 22-year-old, fifth generation St. Mary’s County farmer.
At a time when many of her peers are just starting to figure out what they want to do, Trossbach is already working towards her future.
She’s the mother of a four-year-old, working full-time at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Webster Field Annex and college student taking online courses towards a degree in business.
And she’s the owner of Trossbach Meats, a business she started with her brother and cousin. Her sister also helps out with the business’ marketing.
“It started kind of as a joke,” Trossbach said.
She said the idea for Trossbach Meats went from a what-if game at the dinner table to a full-fledged business. Realizing they had the skills to start a meat business, the trio took a loan from Trossbach’s parents and started the business in 2018.
“The first couple weeks were slow but we’ve been steadily growing and now it’s a full-time job,” she said.
Trossbach gives credit to the work ethic that she learned growing up on the farm.
“It was hard being a girl and having to get up early and work on the farm in the morning and then come in and do my hair and get ready for school,” she said.
She said her dad never let her use the “girl excuse” to get out of working. She also said her mom, who didn’t grow up on a farm, was a good role model and taught her to not be afraid to jump in and help out.
Trossbach said she also gained practical experience through 4-H, which helped her understand the business side of agriculture at a young age.
“We showed goats, pigs and cows in 4-H and that gave us another outlook because you have to do a project and you get to see the cost versus the output,” she said.
On top of the practical experience she gained as a youth, Trossbach is continuing her education in business. She’s enrolled in college, taking courses online.
“Studying business has broadened my knowledge,” Trossbach said. “All of my projects (in college) have been about this business. It’s helped me focus…understand how to better organize our business here.”
The Trossbach family farms roughly 1,600 acres in St. Mary’s County. They raise a variety of field crops and hay along with cattle and hogs. When she was growing up, the family also raised pumpkins and hosted school field trips. They raised pick-your-own strawberries for several years too.
She said she was never discouraged from farming and was always interested in it. But it wasn’t until she had her son that she realized she wanted to stay and work on the farm.
“I loved the farm before but it intensified as I watched the love and joy in my son’s eyes when he’s on the farm,” Trossbach said.
She stayed home with him for three years and started working at the Navy’s Webster Field about the time he started pre-school.
She said the off-farm job was primarily to help her obtain health insurance, but it’s been an opportunity to meet people who are interested in locally-raised meats too.
“People are always looking to support local farms. It’s all about who you know,” Trossbach said.
The Trossbachs sell beef, pork and chicken. This year they’re also selling turkey for Thanksgiving. They sell their meats from a small open-air store on the family farm and at the Homegrown Farmers’ Market in Lexington Park.
“Our customers are a mix,” Trossbach said. “We get a lot of people looking for all natural meats and then there are the people who are looking for old time flavor.”
Trossbach’s sausage is one of the most popular items, she said. They recently obtained approval to use their family’s recipe, which has been handed down for generations.
She said it is a challenge to constantly keep customers engaged.
“Especially the younger generation is always looking for something new,” she said.
Trossbach said another challenge of the business is working with family. But it’s also the greatest reward, she said.
“This is definitely more satisfying than any job,” Trossbach said. “Working with family is my favorite aspect. I love the closeness of working side-by-side and sharing laughs while we work.”
Trossbach said she looks forward to seeing the business and her family continue to grow.
She is newly engaged and said she hopes to have more children.
“My goal is to create something that my kids can take and run with,” Trossbach said. “Whether it’s crops or livestock, there are so many aspects of the farm. It doesn’t matter to me as long as they enjoy it.”