But, before I get into this year I want to say thank you. Thank you to our customers! Thank you to our staff! Thank you to our family! You are the greatest group of people out there. Last year made the third year we have been selling our meat and farm products direct to the public and it was our best yet. And all the thanks goes to you. Without your support we would not be heading into our fourth year of this venture.
Thank You to You!
Due to your support we were able to buy more sheep at the end of 2013 which means more lamb available at the farmers markets in 2014. We were also able to take on more hogs this winter which means more pork next year. Both of these we struggled to keep in the freezer this past summer.
Due to your support we were able to take on 7 part time staff members (more on this later).
Due to your support our family moved one step closer to living and working on our farm full time.
Thank You to My Staff
These folks are great! They helped me through rain and shine, the heat and the cold, the easy days and the hard days. They helped you at the market. They bagged your chicken and dressed your Thanksgiving turkey. They served you at the markets as well as fed the hogs, moved the chickens, and tended the sheep. I would not have survived the year without them. For that I am very grateful. So to Carolynn, Mary, Shawn, Lincoln, Keagan, Rita, and Daniel Thank you.
Thank You to My Family
Thank you Dad! Without your help this past year would have been a whole lot harder. Your wisdom has helped me tremendously. Your knowledge and experience with livestock has been irreplaceable. Not to mention your willingness to help me with feeding and watering hundreds of chickens, turkeys, hogs, sheep, and rabbits over the past year.
And how can I not thank my wife. She was the head chicken killer for most of the summer, delivered food, helped those of you that came to the house, and covered several of the markets for me. She has been invaluable. How, at the least, can you put a value on some one that continues to put up with me and all my ideas and plans?
2014, What Lies Ahead
As I mentioned above, we are still not to the place where I can leave my factory and work on the farm where I belong. Every year we get a little closer (it's hard to believe, looking back, that I started all this when I sold a rifle scope for $300 and bought some chickens). We have tried to bring our products to as many people as we can and keep our prices as affordable as we can. So we started selling in three new markets last year: Galax, Independence, and Pulaski. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep Pulaski staffed and had to quit going. I hope to be back at Pulaski this year. And we are planning on being in Blacksburg at the Community Market. Here is a full list of the markets we will be attending this year.
Tazewell Farmers Market
Wytheville Farmers Market
Independence Farmers Market
Pulaski Farmers Market
Bluefield Farmers Market
Galax Farmers Market
The Community Market of Blacksburg
We would be grateful if you let your friends know about us if they live near any of these markets.
I heard some concern from some of you last year about me not being at the markets. I enjoy being at the markets as much as I enjoy being on the farm. It has very much become part of my social life. Many of you have become friends to my family and I. I don't like missing out on seeing any of you. But I am not omnipresent and will have to make decisions on which markets I personally attend. I am sure I will be at each market at least once through the year.
I have already posted our prices on the blog and won't go into any detail. Here are the links.
Chicken - Pork - Lamb - Turkey - Rabbit
We will be doing our Thanksgiving Turkey orders different this year. This year you will come to our website and place your order and pay your deposit. We hope that this will make the process easier for both you and me. With a growing interest in our turkeys and the number of markets we attend, we are having hard time keeping track of the orders and what order they come in. Why is the order important? This year, on the night before we processed the turkeys, an animal killed six of our turkeys. Thankfully everyone still received a turkey, but if one more had been killed someone would not have had a Thanksgiving turkey. The first to get their order in was guaranteed a turkey, the last was not. To make sure that order is honored we are going to use the website to ensure everything is done right. Hopefully this sort of thing will not happen again. You can view this page here - Turkey Deposit Page
I mentioned our great staff above. Unfortunately, not all of them are staying on for another year. So we will be hiring in April. We are looking for three people to help us at the farmers markets. If you or someone you know would be interested in working for us from April - October please let us know. This would be a great job for someone wanting to get sales or agriculture experience. You must have a valid drivers license and a reliable vehicle.
We are also going to be more active with our newsletter. We have not been sending them out more than once a year. I hope to send it out 4 time this year. We are also going to be more active with this blog. I hope to keep you informed of what is happening in the food world and the politics of food, and yes it is very political.
You will also see us in a lot of social media this year. So pick your poison - Twitter Instagram Facebook g+ and YouTube
Again, thank you so much and we are looking forward to the coming summer. Our first round of chickens will arrive in about two months and that marks the beginning of it all and we are excited to see what this year holds for us.