Updated: Jun 7
I'm on a cooking building expedition with MAPLE!
Before I fill you in on all that's happening at both the FWK and LVOF, I feel it important to take a moment to express my gratitude and thanks. Last Saturday I left the Farmhouse World Kitchen feeling so lifted by all of you who visit me. Each week people pop into the shop, some shy and quiet and curious, some beeline directly to me with an idea like I wanna be an Angel Investor (wow, I am so honored by that one!)), they have a question or gift, and some come in search of health and wellness (or with ideas of how to improve theirs or mine!). All of you come in, warm up for a visit, and always leave me with some tidbit of inspiration whether you realize it or not.
It's fun to meet those of you on a quest: Some customers come far and wide for our heart healthy and most DELICIOUS cold pressed sunflower oil and salad dressings. Some come in search of our maple syrup knowing that ours doesn't travel through plastic tubes in the woods or get left in storage tanks for days and days before cooking, some come for my unique condiments and sauces, many come for LUNCH BOWLS unlike any to be found in Western Wisconsin, and others came in search of my old-fashioned MOLASSES COOKIES! People are beginning to see that what I do is unique and different.
Many of you ponder and ask, "How in the world does she do all this?" Or you ask, "Who do you have do this for you?" implying that I somehow hire this work out! What you see in our restaurant market and what you see in our little shop at Lake View Organic Farm is the creative end-result of the farms, my energy and vision, and ultimately, the translation into products. It's me, my creative energy - it's what I do. I do what I do until I run out of time or figure it's enough. I create, cook, and kitchen-play most days of the week, and have found I can handle actually opening the restaurant (in abbreviated-one-meal-offered form) one day a week right now. I have just enough energy to make the food and goodies, do the packaging, promote it as best I can and visit with you all. And, it seems like a perfect balance, because once a week is about how often I can coax enough people into the shop to make it worth my time and effort.
Friends from far and wide have said, "I'll get there someday!" To that I think, someday I might not be here when you show up, so you might want to hurry! There is an element to creating the products, concept and food that is very rewarding for me, but honestly, the only way to make it financially in this business would be to make every day as busy as my Saturdays. If that were the case, I could conceive of hiring staff to help me out, but that would mean people would need to turn out in higher numbers. This business and our remote locations mean we have a pretty small customer base, so to those of you who show up, seek me out, stop in, THANK YOU!
Anybody in the food business will tell you it's a tough one. Food and labor are not cheap, and in my case, finding someone who understands my vision and can actually help translate that would be very expensive. So, I am on my own, doing what I do, and doing the best I can with the time and financial constraints I face. If I had all the money in the world, I would love to hire all the players needed to bring my idea to complete fruition, but for anyone with financial wisdom, I would suspect you would agree, it would be a project running in the red. I do this now because, frankly, I don't want to go back to a "real job." I enjoy a slow morning, the freedom to make my own schedule and the freedom to follow my heart and ideals. It's perfectly imperfect, indeed.
I'm always open to suggestions and ideas. I've heard a few over the years that seem like they could be helpful, but I just don't know how to pull it all off either physically or financially - bottling for large-scale sales, on-farm experiences, cooking, canning, fermenting classes for example all have their obstacles. From my perspective, the only things that I can see working involve a very large staff and very expensive inputs - both of which I just can't afford. So, by necessity, I am small, farm-direct and open for limited hours and offerings. Honestly, if you've been wanting to stop in but haven't made it a priority, don't dilly-dally as this may not be around much longer! To be able to stay afloat, I'm dependent on a strong local customer base primarily, and secondly, that elusive, hard to pin-point and ever changing tourist base.
To those of you who shop our farm store and kitchen regularly, THANK YOU! I appreciate your vote of confidence and support. I know many of you wish I would do more or do different, and perhaps I'll figure it out. In the meantime, your support and love are so very encouraging! I OWE YOU A HUGE DEBT OF GRATITUDE!
THE FARM NEWS
First of all, the farm store is OPEN once again for the season. I have been busy cleaning the little shed, stocking the shelves with product, and rearranging a bit. Last year we shifted to complete self-serve and OPEN DAILY, so stop in whenever you are in the area. Enjoy the chickens, ducks, dog, cat and the views. Right now we ask that you don't wander too far away from the store as the Spring thaw has everything muddy with winter clean-up still in the works.
Last week William got a nasty cut on his hand from a pressure washer mishap so he's working one-handed right now. If you need small squares, bring some muscle to help load as Farmer B is out of commission for a bit. We might be slow bagging grains for awhile as well.
THE FARMHOUSE WORLD KITCHEN
I have decided to continue my Saturday Market and Lunch for the time being. I'll continue to offer some of our Farm Store products, but expand my cookie selection. I've been in the test kitchen working on a new "Maple Snap" similar to my Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookie but made with a deep dark maple syrup that I am super happy about! I think you're going to love this one. I've also been working on a new Lemon Crinkle Cookie. Last week's was okay, but the recipe I've worked out this week is SO AMAZING! Not only does it have lemon juice and zest, but LEMONGRASS! It's a soft and chewy totally toothy cookie of deliciousness!
LUNCH BOWL - The Lunch Bowl this week is a Burrito Bowl with rice, black beans, chipotle chicken, sautéed peppers and garlic, farmer cheese, MY onions (you know what I'm talking about if you came for burritos, but I am not giving that secret away online!), three salsas to choose from, and cilantro.
FWK NEW HOURS - I was open with the kitchen and winter markets from 10-4, but most of you come through before 2:00. With that, my new hours for the next couple of weeks will be 10-2:30 in Plum City.
I will have some of the same products available in both locations, but the farm store will have it's own signature as time goes on. If you're looking for our CBD products, for example, those will be located on the farm. Many of our condiments, jams, ferments and other farmy food items can be found at LVOF. It's a gorgeous drive between the farm and the kitchen so you can see both if you like!
Ok, I shall ramble on and stop rambling on!
Again, thank you all for your love and support! I couldn't have gotten this far on this adventure without you.
Sending love from farmlandia,