Rock Solid

Trish and Jack Stone, and dog Bodhi, on the family farm. Photography by Meda Kessler

At Stone’s Throw Farm, Special Needs Teens And Adults Find Room To Grow And Thrive.

A request to check out a working farm typically means two options: visit early or visit late.

Stone’s row Farm in far west Fort Worth is no different. Owners Jack and Trish Stone are on the go for most of their waking hours, resulting in 75- to 80-hour work weeks. Show up shortly aer sunrise, and you get to observe bunches of arugula being picked or ripe tomatoes being sorted. Aer sunset, you listen to coyotes howl in the distance and enjoy a cold drink as the couple winds down for the day and talks about their escape from the corporate world, their mission, and their passion.

In addition to tending the crops— along with a few goats, some poultry, their dog Bodhi, and their three sons—the Stones are fixtures at local farmers markets, run a boutique grocery store and teach classes, from canning to growing backyard vegetables. Everything they do is focused on the Stones’ mission and the real reason they created the nonprofit: the special-needs teens and adults who work with them as paid employees or as interns.

(top) Nick and Caleb have been with Stone’s Throw since the farm opened. Both are autistic and also are trusted with a multitude of tasks including planting. “When I don’t have to supervise them,” says Trish, “I know we’ve made progress.” PHOTO COURTESY OF STONE’S THROW FARM (bottom right) Fragrant chamomile partially fills a raised bed. Beckett is another intern at the store.

The Stones both have backgrounds in the corporate workplace, although Trish grew up on a farm in South Texas. When her son developed food allergies, Trish not only cooked more but also started a backyard garden to gain easy access to healthy produce. Jack, meanwhile, left a 20-year career in the automotive industry for a change of pace, buying a chunk of land and considering building a tiny home. He and Trish met after each had gone through a divorce and lifestyle change. The duo shared a lot of the same values.

Immediately, their blended family included two children with special needs: Jackson (now 17) has autism, and Cru (now 14) has cystic fibrosis. They decided to opt for a life where Trish could pursue her gardening on a bigger scale with Jack happy to play the role of multi-purpose supportive mate. “We wanted a place where our sons could feel like they belong, somewhere they should be, somewhere they wanted to be,” says Jack.

Stone’s row Farm became a reality in 2015, and they settled into a life of organic small-scale farming on two acres that includes a log cabin, which Jack designed, and stock-tank swimming pool. Quickly, they joined the community of local producers who sold seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with canned goods including homemade pickles and jams, at multiple community markets. Trish gained valuable tips from fellow farmers on everything from natural fertilizer to planting schedules, and she and Jack have survived brutal summers and crop-killing rains. Their mobile farm-stand truck, a bright yellow trailer emblazoned with their motto, “A Farm Stand at Won’t Stand Still,” gives them visibility at farmers markets, where their helpers might be the petite woman in a wheelchair who is a whiz at running the mobile point-of-sale system or the soft-spoken young man intent on improving his social skills by helping customers bag vegetables.

(top right) The store is a DIY build with a covered patio and climate-controlled space for everything from meats to household goods to bread to fresh produce; (bottom right)Randall and Catie are familiar faces around Stone’s Throw. They help with everything from washing dishes to picking produce; (bottom left) In the Stone’s Throw store, you can learn more about the employees through charming mini profiles on the wall

In 2020, Stone’s row earned its nonprofit certification and word continued to spread about their partnership with special needs teens and adults, especially among the parents who constitute some of the farm’s biggest supporters. On work days, moms and dads could observe their children doing everything from washing freshly picked produce to canning vegetables. Their fan base has grown so much, in fact, that they earned an overwhelming number of popular votes to become the featured charity for the 2024 Foodie Philanthropy fundraiser in Fort Worth. “The organizers were blown away by our support, as they had not heard of us before,” says Trish.

In January 2022, the Stones leased four acres not far from their home. On the land, they set up a grocery store and multiple raised beds, which are more accessible to their employees than the farm. e store is stocked with their own wares along with locally made baked goods, meat and eggs from area ranchers, pantry basics, and specialty items such as Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, which also employs people with developmental disabilities. Here, their sons, interns, and employees help run the store, doing everything from stocking shelves to making jam.

“We know that we are onto something unique and are always looking for ways to expand so we can help more people. When the chance came to open the store, we jumped at it,” says Jack. With the new space, they’ve also expanded services, which include garage/storage cleanouts, where they sort through and then resell goods at one of their regular “barn sales” to raise money for Stone’s row.

On the farm, Trish takes care of the more substantial harvests such as the okra and onions. Jack tends to the goats and does a lot of weeding

“Some of these kids have been with us for years,” says Trish, “[and] they’re at the point where I can tell them to plant the peppers or pull weeds and they no longer need supervision from me. A couple of them have become customer favorites here at the store. at’s success for them and for me.”

And, always, the focus is the world beyond the farm or store. “One of our goals is to prepare them for life and jobs in the ‘normal’ world,” says Jack. “We work with them on everything from interview skills to following instructions. And while there will always be challenges, we love what we’re doing and want to take every opportunity to help even more.”

Stone’s Throw Farm Co.
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The Stones have set up small popup markets at hotels and in neighborhoods to make fresh produce and other products available to a wide range of customers
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Meda Kessler is edible Dallas Forth Worth's art director, layout designer, and more.