Growing A Business with Ginger Leaf Garden
Cassandra Mosbrucker, Owner/Founder
Cassandra Mosbrucker, Owner and Founder of Ginger Leaf Garden LLC, is currently serving in the North Dakota Army National Guard and has served for the last 12 years. Due to her service, she brings a unique perspective to the business world.
Tell me a bit about Ginger Leaf Garden. What inspired you?
I grew up in Mandan city limits without any farm or agriculture experience. My childhood home had a small backyard garden and a large wrap-around flower bed in front of the house. Year after year, I looked forward to planting flowers with my mom. I always looked forward to going around town to scope out different flowers at the greenhouses. I still get just as excited about stepping into a greenhouse now as I did when I was a kid.
Growing up, I also spent quite a bit of time in my grandparents’ garden. Their garden was significantly bigger than my home one. They were always open to me planting different things. I remember saving seeds from fruit and vegetables and experimenting to see if I could make something grow. I specifically remember saving cherry seeds. These started planted in a cup, then a flowerpot and eventually, after a couple of years, they were big enough for the garden. Our family no longer owns this property so I can’t be sure, but as far as I know, those trees are still growing.
All these little moments in the garden just stuck with me. Since I have lived on my own, I have always had my own garden whether it was just flowers on the apartment balcony or a few raised garden beds in the backyard. In 2018, I built a house in Mandan (Lakewood area). That year, I didn’t get a garden since the house was under construction. In 2019, I spent half the garden season deployed, meaning that was on pause for another year. Finally, in 2020, I added six raised garden beds to my backyard. Then in 2021, I added six more. This year, I turned the garden into a business and added another 13 along with a watering system! As of right now, my family is always joking that I may as well turn the whole backyard into a garden. Honestly, I would love that.
Right now, the business is operated out of my backyard garden. The focus is to sell starter plants in the spring, produce a variety of different canned items such as jams, sauces, salsas and pickles, and share my experience with others. We have also been experimenting with different gift basket sets this year. Our garden-themed easter baskets were a huge hit!
Right now, I still have another full-time career, but in the next few years, I would like to transition into running Ginger Leaf Garden as my full-time business. My garden is my happy place, and I never can get enough. I want to move toward the job that I love wholeheartedly.
What does a normal day on the job look like for you?
It depends on the day. I will either be in the garden, kitchen or at the farmer’s market. While my full-time job has my attention Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and one weekend a month, all of my expendable time is spent on Ginger Leaf Garden. With this being the business’s first official year, sleep has been very limited. I’m often working late into the night on different projects. This spring, I spent a lot of time starting seeds indoors, building raised garden beds, installing a water system and planting the garden. Over the summer, I spent most of the daylight hours caring for the garden. The nights away from the garden were spent in the kitchen canning. Over the summer and fall, Ginger Leaf Garden participated in the Lincoln Days Farmer’s Market on Tuesday nights. Not only is it an opportunity to sell my goods, but it’s also great to connect with other vendors in the Bis-Man community.
What were your friend’s and family’s reactions when you told them you were pursuing service, and what was their reaction when you told them about your business?
I think a lot of people were very surprised when I decided to join the National Guard. I was a quiet, small, softhearted female. This isn’t exactly what people picture when they think of a “soldier.” I had never even shot a real gun until I went to basic training. These skeptical opinions just made me more determined to prove myself.
As for starting my business, my friends and family were excited for me. They’re happy to see me doing something that I love and they’re even happier when I bring them new recipes to taste test!
What do you remember about your first days in service?
I remember operating on mental and physical exhaustion but somehow still enjoying every bit of the experience. I was actually sad when basic training was over. There is something special about the way you bond with your battle buddies through these experiences. Some of these bonds turn into lifelong friendships.
What do you remember about your first days when launching your business?
With the business, I was also operating on mental and physical exhaustion but somehow enjoying every bit of the experience. Also, I remember constant excitement and a sense of accomplishment as little pieces fell together. I think I am still a bit in shock that I own my own business and am solely responsible for it!
We also love taking special requests for canning. It gives us a more personal connection with our customers as well as a new challenge!”– Cassandra Mosbrucker
What made you want to choose the Bismarck-Mandan area to start Ginger Leaf Garden?
Along with growing up here, I think that we have a certain sense of pride in our North Dakota growers and producers.
What was the hardest challenge for you when opening Ginger Leaf Garden?
The hardest challenge was navigating through all of the paperwork to make sure everything is licensed properly, and taxes are being done properly. Luckily, there are many helpful resources out there that business owners can use to their advantage. I received assistance from the ND Women’s Business Center, as well as the Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Who are your biggest mentors that you can attribute some of your successes to?
My biggest mentor would be my father. He’s a problem solver and just seems to know how to do everything. This has come in handy more times than I can count. He has never doubted any of my ideas and always shows up when I need him. He has always taught me to do things the right way and if something doesn’t work, try again. I don’t know what I would do without him.
Have you or your business achieved any awards, accolades or accomplishments in your first year of business?
This year, we decided to enter our Peach Heat Salsa in the Lincoln Farmer’s Market Days and TR 4 Heart and Soul Salsa Showdown. There were 13 different entries and we took third place.
We also received a new vendor grant from the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association. The grant is available for new farmers market vendors participating in their first or second year of farmer’s markets. Our grant funds were used for supplies, equipment and marketing material related to vending at a farmers market.
Gift Baskets Galore
Ginger Leaf Garden makes gift baskets for various holidays and events. To date in 2022, baskets have been made for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, May Day, Administrative Professionals’ Day, Teacher’s Day and birthdays. Watch out for their upcoming holiday baskets!
What does being a veteran symbolize to you?
To me, it’s just my job. I choose to do it and I get paid to do it. It also comes with great benefits. I have been able to travel all over the country and the world. I was deployed to Africa for six months and that was a part of the world I may never have gotten to see otherwise if it weren’t for that experience.
How has your service experience changed your business mindset?
It taught me resiliency, as well as that it’s okay to fail sometimes. If you fail, you still learn something. Resiliency is so important when starting a business because you are learning something every day
Support Ginger Leaf Garden
Phone: (701) 214-7695
Email: [email protected]