Jacob Hardesty of Turkey Ford, Oklahoma with his wife Liza and daughter Kenzley. Contributed Photo.

Hometown: Turkey Ford, Okla. 

Family: Wife Liza; children Kenzley, (3), and Josiah (J.J.) due at the end of July. 

In Town: Jacob taught math at Grove Middle School for five years and coached varsity soccer for six. 

After returning to the farm full-time to help his dad, Jacob began to explore other ways to bring in income. Six years ago in May, Jacob launched Ginger Jake’s, a gourmet hot dog food truck in the Grand Lake region. 

Ginger Jake’s specializes in 100-percent all beef quarter pound hot dogs, with Jacob’s He also offers fresh squeezed lemonade, french fries and corn dogs. 

Recently, Liza encouraged Jacob to consider adding dessert options. She now runs Ginger Jake’s Sweet Spot, featuring funnel cakes with an assortment of toppings along with two flavors of homemade donuts – cinnamon sugar and salted caramel. 

“The food truck has allowed me to farm,” Jacob said. “At the end of the day, I’m just the ‘hired hand’ and dad’s the boss. I work for him. Having the food truck supplements our income and allows us to do what we need to do.

“Weenies and funnel cakes paid for a lot on the farm and allowed us to do a lot of things.”

In The Country: Jacob and his family are the fourth and fifth generations of Hardestys to live on the family farm. Established in 1926 by Jacob’s great-grandparents, Tom and Aora Hardesty, the farm is located in the Turkey Ford area of Oklahoma. Other Hardestys to work the farm include his grandparents, Curtis and Lottie Lu, and his parents, Ivan and Mary. The farm will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026.

Since then, Ivan and Jacob set a goal to transition from a traditional commercial beef operation, selling cattle at the sale barn or through private treaty, and instead providing a ‘beef to table” service for consumers.

“My goal was to never sell another animal at the sale barn,” Jacob said.

Since 2018, the Hardestys have worked to build their customer base. Jacob said more and more are fed out and sold locally each year. In the last year they sold 50 steers farm-to-table, with only 250 being sold using traditional means.

They run a mix of Angus and Red Angus cattle, using registered black Angus bulls on the 1,000-acre place. They own approximately 850 to 900 acres, with the rest leased. 

Jacob jokes his father lives in the same house and bedroom he was born in. Jacob and Liza live in a house elsewhere on the farm. 

Beyond running cattle, the family grows wheat for winter forage and winter pastures. While they can run up to 400-head of cattle, they typically run a 300-head herd.


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