Serafina Palanchek and Jennifer Johnson

The Duo Behind Sustainable Chicken Company Hip Chick Farms

Jennifer Johnson used to be a chef at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant. Her wife, Serafina Palandech, worked for 15 years in the nonprofit sector. Today, they’ve taken their expertise in food and social issues to create Hip Chick Farms, a line of artisan, transparently sourced poultry products that are convenient for busy families and most recently available at Whole Foods Markets and Walmarts nationwide.

When did you realize what you wanted to do in your life?

Johnson: “After high school, I worked in a kitchen on a dude ranch in Colorado. I fell in love with the creativity and opportunity to invent delicious meals for all the hungry ranchers.”

Palandech: “I always knew that I wanted to make a positive difference in the world, help people, create change and speak for others like me who are outsiders. I spent 15 years in nonprofit work, only to completely switch careers and start an organic chicken company! I have found that the most interesting part of Hip Chick Farms has been the opportunity to create mass change by offering organic food across socioeconomic classes of people—we sell to Walmart and we sell to Whole Foods.”

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Johnson: “Cooking for President Obama at the White House in October 2016.”

Palandech: “Raising our daughter while starting a business as a mom, woman, lesbian. We are striving to model for her a way of living—to follow her dreams with resilience, determination, kindness and love.”

What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your job that they probably don’t know?

Johnson: “I cook because I love people. The more I can feed, the more love I can provide.”

Palandech: “I was a vegetarian for 31 years before starting our farm. I learned how to raise and slaughter chickens as part of my process to starting Hip Chick Farms. It was an essential part of the process for me to really understand this and live it.”

What advice do you have for other women working toward their own dreams?

Johnson: “Stay true to yourself. Be humble. Seek advice and mentorship from other women in the field of your choosing. Trust your gut!”

Palandech: “Never take no for an answer. I have been told no so many times and in so many ways, I have had to be resolute in my belief in myself and Jen. Follow your gut. Ask for help! People are kind. Lead with love, and the money will follow.”

Snack food you can’t live without?

Johnson: “Cheese.”

Palandech: “Carrots.”

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