Pineywoods Herb Farm is situated on 50 East Texas acres in the middle of the Davy Crockett National Forest.  We are all organic and practice sustainable gardening and farming practices.  Cindy Hoyt (that would be me!) is the proprietor, and along with her hardworking and supportive husband Richard take care of everything that needs to be taken care of.  Richard’s background includes a long and very interesting career in aviation.  My background includes a long (but not nearly as interesting) career in sales, marketing, and small business development. "With those careers how did you end up doing this?" one might ask. Well, many people do ask us that question along with several other questions we get quite often from visitors to the herb farm:

What brought you from the big city to way out here in the country?

My mother and stepfather bought this property in 1979.  They lived and worked in Houston and wanted a country retreat for weekends, with future plans of retirement.  In the late 1980’s they retired and moved here permanently.

In 1995 my mother lost her battle with breast cancer.  My stepfather, who was in poor health himself, could not continue to take care of things so he decided to put the property up for sale.  I had some very fond memories of this place as did my children, whose memories of Grandma and Grandpa centered here at “the farm”.  I realized that once the property sold there would be no place I could go that held so many wonderful memories of my mother... no place I could go that captured her spirit and love of place.  That thought really bothered me and left me feeling very unsettled... a feeling I knew was going to be with me if I let this property slip away. So I didn't.  I bought it.

Richard and I lived and worked in the Dallas area at that time (1996), so for the next 6 years our weekends consisted primarily of driving 3 hours each way from our weekday home to our country home here in Kennard, where there was so much work to be done.

When 9/11 took place we re-examined our priorities and made the decision that the country was where we really wanted to be.  So in April of 2002 we sold our house in the Dallas area, said goodbye to life in the big city and became permanent residents out here in the middle of the Davy Crockett National Forest.  One of the best decisions we have ever made!

How long has the herb farm been in business?

I knew when I bought this place in 1996 I wanted to have an herb farm here.  In fact, in 1997 I registered the name "Pineywoods Herb Farm" with the state.  I spent the next few years educating myself on business matters, candle-making, potpourri-making, perfecting my craft so to speak, but it wasn't until we moved here permanently in 2002 that I was able to begin preparations for what the herb farm has become.  I started out by selling herbs plants and a few products at local town square events in Crockett, Madisonville, Rusk, Lufkin and Huntsville.  People would ask me where my shop was and what my hours were, but at the time I had neither. Obviously, I needed a shop and hours.  So Richard and I began the task of refurbishing the original small house on the property (the "yellow house" as we call it) for my shop and soon after came the hours.

How did you come to be in the business of herb growing?

I was very fortunate to grow up with grandparents who had a garden and farmed, loved the land and loved nature.  My grandmother had a compost pile long before compost piles were "cool".  She raised chickens and gardened organically, knowing back in the 50's and 60's that chemicals and pesticides were harmful to people and the environment.  It was in her living room that I would spend hours reading Organic Gardening Magazine.

I was also fortunate to spend a lot of time in my young years with two ladies (a mother and daughter) who, although we were not related by blood, we were related by love.  They taught me how to read when I was only a few years old and since they had a "library" with wall-to-wall bookshelves that held several hundred cookbooks, I read cookbooks!  And I planned meals and parties from those cookbooks that were really just make-believe events.  But by then my love of cooking had taken hold.  Just a few years later I took every opportunity to throw real parties so I could cook something special for a crowd... an anniversary party for my parents, a culinary masterpiece (or three) at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I entered cooking contests and won my first "first" prize at twelve years old with several others yet to come.  I was hooked!

Years later, in 1983, I lived in League City, Texas, just south of Houston.  I happened upon an old, stately home in the middle of town that sat on about 1/2 an acre where the owners sold a nice variety of herbs and other plants.  I was in heaven when I visited this place… I remember thinking that a place where one could live and grow plants to sell and cook with would definitely be a dream come true for me… a commute of just a few steps away, gardening and cooking... doing what I loved most in life!  Sometimes I’m still amazed at the way everything worked out almost exactly the way I envisioned it back in those early days.