Eric Depradine is a farmer in Kansas City, Kansas, and owner of Zydeco Meadery. His story of farming is one of identifying problems and challenges that get in the way, embracing victories, and developing a mindset of never giving up. It underscores the boldness and persistence it takes as a Black farmer to grow a Black farm enterprise and build capacity.
Some of his early memories of farming center around his grandmother. Eric lived in Massachusetts as a child where his grandmother maintained an extensive flower garden. He became interested in farming through this experience. He went to college, met his future wife, and got married. Together, they maintained an extensive vegetable garden before moving to Kansas City, where their strong interests in farming led them to start their own enterprise.
Eric’s vision is to build a fruit tree orchard and commercial flower operation enterprise. He currently has planted more than 25 cultivars of apples, which will be used to make hard cider, blended apple juice with honey, and converted to a delicious alcohol. The farm also has a bee hive.
The Depradine farmers have met challenge after challenge with alternative plans and successful strategies that make them innovative and tireless. Eric has put years of thought, time, and effort into land ownership, growing fruit, beekeeping, and building customer support — and he has grown a unique, sought-after wine product and successful enterprise through another pathway.
Farmer knowledge often comes through sharing stories of hardships and lessons learned. Identifying Black farm hindrances that obstruct progress and success is critical.
The voice of Eric Depradine and Zydeco Meadery offers challenges, vision, answers, hope, and alternative pathways to success for new and seasoned socially disadvantaged farmers and their specialty crops and alternative specialty products.