30 Oct 2022 Couple of the Month: Holly Payne and Aaron Baldwin
Where did you grow up:
Berryville (Carroll County)
EDUCATION: I hold a bachelor’s in English from Lyon College, along with an M.F.A. in costume design and technology and an M.Ed. in higher education administration, from the University of Arkansas.
JOB: Aaron and I operate Porch Swing Farms, and I work freelance as a costume designer.
FAMILY: My dad, Ron Payne, lives in Beaver Shores in Northwest Arkansas. My mother, Nan, is deceased. No kids of our own, but I love being an aunt to Alex, Sloane, CC, McRae and Logan.
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I have volunteered with Out of the Woods Animal Rescue and Little Rock Animal Village. I serve as the event coordinator for the Progressive Arkansas Women Political Action Committee and as a poll worker in Perry County elections. I recently designed costumes for “Tales from the Crypt” for Parkview Arts Science Magnet High School and the Mount Holly Cemetery. We also support Project Zero to help great kiddos find homes.
HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I embroider and quilt. Does eating ice cream count as a special interest?
DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I’m a doer and am always busy with something. I want to make the best out of whatever comes my way.
ONe THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I’m a master orange peeler.
MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: I love being part of the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. My weekly chats with our regular customers and their dogs are the highlights of my week.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Do as much as possible.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE 501: I love being near our friends and families after living out of state. And, of course, the cheese dip.
Where did you grow up:
Little Rock, in the Hillcrest Historic District.
EDUCATION: I am a graduate of Central High and hold a bachelor’s from Washington University in St. Louis and a doctorate in biochemistry from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
JOB: Holly and I run Porch Swing Farms, a sustainable small farm committed to providing good-looking, delicious foods that customers can feel good about eating. I like to say, “Do you wanna speak to the man in charge or to the woman who knows what’s going on? I’m the guy who makes the sausage.”
FAMILY: My parents, Barbara and Max Baldwin, still live in Hillcrest.
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I’m proud to be a poll worker in Perry County and a registrar for the Gloucestershire Old Spots of America pig registry. Holly and I also support Project Zero’s mission to find homes for adoptable children in Arkansas.
HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I love to eat, so cooking and watching any Razorback sport. In Muss, I trust!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I hope people would say I’m passionate, dependable and dogged.
ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I’m a first-generation American citizen. My mother is Canadian, and my father is English.
MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: As our family grows, so does the number of birthdays. On Sunday nights, we meet at my parent’s house, where mom throws amazing parties for us.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Chance favors only the prepared mind.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE 501: I love so much about living in the Land of Opportunity – calling the Hogs with Razorback fans, Doe’s Eat Place, the Buffalo River, horse racing at Oaklawn and duck hunting near Stuttgart.
We met on Match.com in Milwaukee, Wis. Aaron reached out to Holly, and she was delighted and surprised to meet a fellow Arkansan. We fell in love over food (cooked mainly by Aaron), theater (Holly always has a play to go to) and laughter. Aaron proposed with a beautiful diamond (gifted from LeeLee Doyle, an adopted grandparent) that he had planted in a tea bag in Holly’s morning cuppa.
We had a beautiful wedding at the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca in 2012 and vowed to have a “Yes, and” marriage – a promise to back the other one up and keep bringing new things to the table.
Seeking warmer pastures, we left Milwaukee in 2013 for North Carolina. By 2014, though, with nieces and nephews popping up in Arkansas, we returned home to stay. We settled in Little Rock for the first three years, making connections and remembering the things we loved about our home state – the outdoors, the weather, the wonderful family and friends. We adopted three amazing dogs – beautyhounds and wonderdogs, as we call them.
We decided to make the most of something else Arkansas offers – land. We moved just outside Toad Suck, got a few chickens and started Porch Swing Farms. We added 24 acres down the road a year later, got some beautiful pigs, committed ourselves to this strange and wonderful farm life, and added a beautiful rescue Bullmastiff to our family.
We work a lot but love spending as much time as possible with our families – having our nieces and nephews to the farm, celebrating birthdays with great food and cheering on the Razorbacks.