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Farm Direct: We're More Than A Farm Stand

Five years! William and I hatched this idea, built a building and launched our farm-direct Farm Store business as a way to share the bounty and a bit of our creativity as well. Farmer Bill has had a handle on farming from the get go, being born and raised and all that, but me? Oh my! The road to learning how all this actually works has been long and bumpy.

A New Freezer For Baked Goods

What? Wait! Raccoons killed all the chickens? There is no buyer for that crop? A calf died? The wind blew over the entire field of heavy-headed sunflowers just weeks before harvest? Deer decimated the entire crop of organic corn? The alfalfa weevil is eating the hay before our very eyes! Potato bugs are everywhere. The shed roof collapsed under the heavy weight of snow killing a cow? All the ash trees died last year...the list of devastating curve balls is endless on a farm. "You've gotta have the bad in order to appreciate the good," is what William learned from his father. Expect the curve balls and they're just a momentary obstacle...as long as you're diversified and have a few backup plans.


The Farm Store is one way to diversify the farm and provide an income stream for the larger enterprise. But, it's had some bumps as well.


My main frustration is the fact we're beholden to the tourist season as are many businesses in our area. Our location, three miles up off the Great River Road, means customers need to have a mean streak of curiosity to take a chance and drive away from their primary destination to see what it's all about. And, our signs need to catch their attention...this a constant battle with the county as signs are not allowed on 35, technically.


WHY VISIT US? WHY TELL YOUR FRIENDS?


Why would people veer up the hill to see what Lake View Organic Farm Store is all about? Well, first off, we have some pretty unique offerings. Our farm store is the place where we can showcase our crops and talent. It's the place to give customers a little taste of farm life. Plus, our store is smack dab in the middle of the farm! Not on the side of the road, not in the heart of a touristy small town, but right on a working farm. What an opportunity to drive up to the barn, see free-range chickens and ducks at your feet, watch cattle lolling on pasture, or to visit with one of the barn cats? I'm the first to drive right past a farm stand when I'm on a mission, but to experience a farm - one, the kind that barely exists in this day and age...I'd put it on my "MUST SEE" list if I were visiting the area. To step foot on Lake View Organic Farm is nostalgic to say the least and reminds the human psyche to recall an existence connected to the land. It's nourishing.


Despite me wishing we had a few more customers in the shoulder season, I must say, our local client base is strong and growing! Thank you to all of you who stop out on your regular rounds of provision collecting. Our local shoppers come for sunflower seed birdseed, animal feed, straw, hay, eggs, cookies, bread and soup predominantly. We're always motivated to get creative when things sell out. I know, I know, you'd like me to make more sourdough bread! I'm working on it.


Speaking of baking...what's so special about our cookies? Each cookie recipe contains some sort of farm ingredient or attribute. For example, we hand foraged tangy sumac (no, silly, not the poison kind) that I use in a cookie similar to the Snickerdoodle but with sumac. I call it the "Sumackerdoodle." Love old-fashioned molasses cookies? Me too! I love them even more when I make them with the darkest late season maple syrup from our farm instead of molasses not from our farm. Everyone needs compost to grow abundant gardens, and I like the term "Compost Cookie" much better than "Monster Cookie." My Compost Cookies aren't made from compost, but the idea being those cookies get mix-ins from all the this and that around the kitchen pantry. You probably know that fruit is abundant in our area: rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, apples, pears...these fruits play a role in my "Farmhouse Fruit Bars." These bars are a little like a pie and a cookie smashed into each other! Delicious. All of these fresh baked and frozen because cold is the best way to enjoy sweet treats! William disagrees. If you're like him, bring them to room temp or give them 15 seconds in the microwave. They'll taste like they're just out of the oven.



NEW PRODUCTS


William had some fun with the welder last week with all this rain. He made a couple of auger birdbaths, some maple leaves and a dragon fly.


I finally got the 2023 harvest of CBD dried and infused with our sunflower oil. I used a new technique leaving the oil tasting less blechhhh and more nutty. It's great tasting for those of you who like to use the oil in cooking. "Edible" is the term they're using these days as a way to ingest CBD. Some use it for relaxation, some for stress relief, some for sleep and others for pain. A few drops here and there on the evening meal is a much tastier way to benefit than the sub-lingual method, in my opinion.



I'll have some rye sourdough with the addition of sprouted rye berries this week in the store and probably a few loaves of plain sourdough as well.


I'm grateful to have one job right now instead of many. I'm trying to focus my energy back to the store and recall the excitement and motivation I had the first year we opened. It's been a great business and creative outlet for us, and now with a few years of data and experience, I'm feeling more capable and understanding of the fickle nature of being a rural entrepreneur. Please tell all your friends about our farm and our work. Word of mouth seems to be our most reliable marketing tool. Thank you!


Sending LOTS of love from the farm,


Sarah







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I LOVE your farm store! We live in the Twin Cities, but have friends who live in Stockholm who turned us on to it and there is rarely a time we visit them that we don’t stop at the store to get our staples (farm balm, soap, cookies, sunflower oil) and see what other fun things you have in store. Visiting your store is a breath of fresh air both literally and figuratively! Thank you for doing what you do! ❤️

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