Sixth-grader Tatum Carter of Magnolia, Arkansas is into showing sheep and goats, and she doesn’t mind getting dirty doing it.
But the show world is an expensive one and with four sheep and four goats to care for, she has become no stranger to business adding entrepreneur to her list of accomplishments by creating Tatum’s Tasty Treats. The business, operating under that name on Facebook, allows Tatum to sell a variety of pies, cakes, and chocolate chip cookie bars by receiving orders and selling them by displaying pictures of her baked goodies.
It’s all in an effort to support her goats Bernard, Saltine, Cheddar, and Juanita. Her sheep are named Reba, Kenny Rogers, Dolly, and Big Mac. With these guys and girls, she hopes to win buckles, banners, ribbons, and even money sometimes. She and her dad, Micah Carter, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Magnolia, try to make all local shows and go out of state as often as possible. Showings leading up to state fairs are considered the season ball games and playoffs, but the state fair is considered the super bowl of showing animals.
Tatum’s business is a result of COVID-19 and being stuck in the house with time, her imagination, and her small yet capable hands.
“I always liked baking, but I really wanted to start baking since the quarantine,” Tatum, 11, said.
She claims she has watched the Food Network show “Kids Baking Championship,” and YouTube cooking series featuring baker Rosanna Pansino but she mostly taught herself through trial and error. She said her mom Julie Carter is a good cook, but she isn’t much into baking.
Tatum said some recipes taste good the first time she makes them, but the success of others remains elusive.
“The brownie truffles were just a hot mess,” she said.
Tatum’s father said he wasn’t sure if it was the quarantine causing the burst of orders, but he was awfully proud of what his daughter was doing.
“It just blew up,” Carter said. “There were 500 likes on (Facebook) in one night.”
Some of the specialty treats Tatum makes are vanilla pound cake, lemon and blueberry pound cake, miniature lemon and strawberry pies, and ice cream pies. She has even jumped into making birthday cakes with buttercream icing.
The Big Purchase
Tatum’s first large amount of money she earned was $1,800, and it went toward the purchase of a treadmill so the goats and sheep could get some exercise. The treadmill is long and has sides as tall as the animals, so they’re able to walk a straight path without getting sidetracked.
“Tatum’s show animals are much like athletes,” her mother shared on Facebook. “The harder they train, the better they are, and the better she will do with them. Treadmill work is part of the process. I can’t tell you how proud she is to have this.”
The orders have slowed down now that school has reopened. Carter said that was a good thing because his daughter is still a child and needed a break. He said during the busiest days at the beginning of the business she would wake up baking and the oven would not be turned off until 9 o’clock at night.
Tatum said she’s thankful for the support she has received during her new business venture and showing her animals. Robert McDonald of Southern Title & Closing in Magnolia gave Tatum her first big corporate order. She said McDonald and his wife, Kristal, also gave her tips on showing goats.
Carter said the family is grateful for Mike and Karon Reynolds of Pin Oak Club Lambs in Greenbrier, Arkansas who were also instrumental in helping Tatum learn about showing sheep.
Carter said he is certainly proud that his daughter is helping pay for the high cost of showing which includes feed, hay, and immunizations which must be given often to prevent the animals from getting sick as they are prone to in muggy Arkansas weather.
“I’m proud of the lessons she has learned from running her own business, making her own money, and buying her own equipment,” he said.
Tatum has gathered quite the array of awards for showing livestock but ask anyone in Magnolia who has purchased one of her “tasty treats” and they’d tell you her baking skills deserve an award too.
Becky Bell is an award-winning newspaper writer who has worked at numerous newspapers including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Texarkana Gazette. Prior to becoming a freelance journalist, Becky worked in the Communications Department at Southern Arkansas University and served as University Editor. While working there, she also received a Master’s in public administration.
She is a dog lover and lives with her dog, Queenie Belle, a rescue Papillon-mix, in Magnolia, Arkansas. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Stew Pot at the United Methodist Church and attends Trinity Baptist Church. She also serves on the board of Compassion's Foundation Inc., which helps victims of domestic violence. She was born in Texarkana, Texas, and attended Texas High School where she first started writing stories for the Tiger Times.