In the last few weeks we have done a lot of talking with Abby and have decided to take a new direction, even further away from the animals. (We are still raising our own chickens for food and eggs, and may raise a veal calf this fall for our own use) Now we will be focusing on creating a place where other small hobby farmers can showcase and sell their products.
Farmer's markets are becoming the place to sell farm products, but for the really small farmer it can be difficult to secure a space or commit to twenty weeks of sales. The fees for fairs and shows can be higher than a very small farm or craftsman can absorb and the start up equipment for such shows (tent, table, chairs, signage, etc) make achieving a profit very difficult.
While I was convalescing and Sam had a couple of weeks off from work to take care of me, we (meaning Sam, Abby, Rachel, and Samantha) stripped out "phase one" of the barn. The cement floor was scrubbed, the walls and ceiling were washed down.
Through the window is the new room (used to be the "baby barn") for the evaporator. We aren't sure when we will move it up from the old building because we still need to pour the cement floor for it. The window will allow even the smallest guests to view the syrup making process without getting so close to the wicked hot evaporator!
A sink and stove, with counter space and cupboards will be added to Phase one. This gives us space to finish and bottle the syrup all in the same area. Shelves will line the walls for products. We are looking to add items from local farmers, producers, and craftspeople, to be showcased and sold. We will be organizing more farm events similar to ones that have been so successful in the past and our new farm stand will give us space that is not weather dependent.
It will take time for all these changes to happen and come together, but we think it will be a great new direction for us!