Category Archives: News, etc.

There are some perks to this farming thing

Alec Baldwin talking about not being a farmer
I’ve been in a tux, can’t say I enjoyed it.

This is meant as a dig at farmers. He’s too sophisticated to be in anything but a tux.

The last time I was in a tux, I went home with a lady who I still haven’t gotten rid of yet. (Hi SWMBO!)

Whenever I start feeling uppity, she reminds me that she put the mom curse on me, multiple times, to get remarried if I were to leave her. I’m NOT putting on one of those things again.

I’ll take being a farmer in my comfy clothes any day over being a Baldwin, or whoever he’s supposed to be playing. I actually feel sorry for people like he’s portraying. I wouldn’t give up this life for anything resembling theirs.

Happiness is a full bag of squeaky cheese

So I’m in my office, working away on paperwork, emails, etc. And on this particular morning, I’m hungry. SWMBO said no breakfast this morning when I asked, which is probably smart because the scale isn’t exactly at record lows at the moment. Nothing dramatic but skipping a meal wouldn’t kill me, especially since I’m desk bound this morning, and truck bound all afternoon.

But I’m hungry (insert whining here). And it’s hard to work when you are hungry. Then I remembered!! Squeaky cheese came in on Wednesday! I scurried down to the store and snagged a full bag and ran back to my office to hide away, work away, and squeak away.

There is still some left in the fridge if you need your fix as well. We ordered extra this time. No idea how long it will last but we are open today from 2-6 and tomorrow from 8-5. I wouldn’t recommend coming on Saturday at 5pm.

Hot Dogs Back in Stock Open Today 2-6 pm

Great news just in time for the weekend. Weeping Radish dropped by this morning and delivered Uncured Hot Dogs, Beer Bratwurst, & Linguiça. Hopefully next week they will have our  Pastrami & Roast Beef ready for delivery.

Hot dogs $7 lb 4 per pack in pork casing

Linguica $10.50 lb

Beer Bratwurst $10.50lb

We’ll be sampling the new products this weekend, stock up for Memorial Day cookouts.

Free tours and tastings! May 27th

After the runaway success of our open barn day we are following up with a smaller event on May 27th. We will feature one of our favorite vendors on site to answer your questions and sample their delicious products. We will also be giving FREE tours in conjunction with their free tastings so if you’ve been meaning to come by and take a tour, this is your day! The tours are limited to the number of slots we have available on our calendar so it’s first come, first serve.

So what is going to be featured? Palace Green freezer jams will be on site. What are freezer jams you ask?

Palace Green freezer jams are really really good. They are, quite simply, worse than crack cocaine. No wait, that’s sounds bad. That’s a terrible description. I need something better than that….

Our freezer jams are in jars too small in size even though you opened an entire jar, hid in the corner and ate it all by yourself while looking over your shoulder, hoping nobody sees you and asks for some. Darn, that sounds worse too. Hmm…

My favorite indulgence in the world is vanilla ice cream. Not vanilla and chocolate syrup. Not vanilla and sprinkles. Plain. Old. Vanilla. The planer the better. Homemade with about 3 ingredients is perfect. Simply Natural vanilla is second place.

Palace Green freezer jam on vanilla ice cream
Palace Green freezer jam on vanilla ice cream

Palace Green freezer jams are so good, that the best thing I can think of to do with them is to put them on ice cream. Palace Green freezer jams actually make my favorite thing ever, better. I’m sure they are good on toast or biscuits or whatever. Who knows. I’ll never find out unless you folks tell me about it. For me, it’s ice cream and freezer jam.

There, that sounds positive. Much better. (Really, it’s crack. You can’t stop once you open the jar. Run away!)

As for the free tours, we have opened up double the normal number of tours for a Saturday to try and accommodate everyone. The store will be open as normal so if you just want to pop in and get samples without a tour, do some shopping, etc. you are welcome to come by. Tours will be by appointment. For our regulars, don’t shy away. We will NOT have 2000 people here on the 27th. It’s tours only.

To book a tour, you simply need to go to our scheduling page and book a tour at a time that is convenient for you. All available times will be shown. If no times show up, then we are full for the day. You can still stop by the store to shop.

Because of the nature of the event, we will honor Groupons but only at their normal stated rate, which includes a free tour. In other words, if you are a Groupon customer, the 27th is not your day.

Bacon is back in stock

I had a few inquiries this week from folks asking, “Are you open? Is there anything there to buy after last weekend?”

The answer is Yes! We are open. While we had thousands of people through here, we only ran out of a handful of items. Most things, except the never ending struggle for ribeyes and our pending restock on squeaky cheese are back in stock.

On Friday, I went to the processor and picked up three hogs worth of products, including an order of bacon so we even have bacon back on hand.

Large pile of uncured bacon
Stocked to the gills with bacon

There is even a possibility that our latest cow will be ready today so I hope to run over to Siler City and pick that up, which means we’d have ribeyes later this afternoon. No promises! But it’s possible.

The girls are working 8-5 today so pop in and stock up on fresh goodies. We look forward to see you.

The results are in…

In my earlier post I guessed at how many people we’d have here for our event on Saturday. The math was based on what we knew, which wasn’t very much at all. In the end, I guessed 800 people would show. I actually felt pretty good about my guess. Maybe we’d, <gasp!>, hit 1000 but based on the buzz around our event, I felt pretty good we wouldn’t see just 50 people and have a total bust.

To put this in perspective, I think the most we’ve ever had here at the farm at once is about 75 people.

Saturday we had over 100 people  before we even officially opened at 10am.

About 9:40, cars started showing up. And….They…..Never…..Stopped.

Here is a bit of what it looked like. Thanks Dustin for the drone footage.

 

Before we started, I grabbed our head of parking, Joseph, and walked him through the plan for how to park cars. We had a plan A for parking that involved using the yard all the way from the barn to the back of the house. That was blown by about 10:10. Plan B went into effect, which was to park cars behind the house in the orchard. That lasted another 15 – 20 minutes maybe.  Plan C was to park right behind the house between the grape vines and the house. That petered out by about 11am. At that point, we went into our emergency planning mode, which was to shift our parking people to the bottom of the hill and start parking in Dustin’s yard. We made that transition, which was definitely under duress.

Luckily shortly after that plan went into effect, Miguel made it back to the farm and asked about parking in the big pasture. We didn’t want people parking in the pasture because it messed up the flow of people to the tours. Basically it had people coming from all sorts of directions and people wouldn’t be able to work their way through out stations without getting lost and/or confused about what was going on but at this point we didn’t have a choice. With his help we quickly shifted to parking cars in our main pasture. This plan, frankly, wasn’t part of the plan. At this point we were making things up and the cars kept coming.

Luckily about noon the rush was over. Our initial visitors were starting to clear out and we were able to start making progress towards parking in our normal areas. However it was well into the afternoon before we cleared the parking in the big pasture. All other spots were swamped all day.

I mention the parking because it really is our Achilles heel. We can only park so many people here on the farm. We have a one way road on and off the farm, and we had a stead stream of people pouring in.

I spent most of my time either giving tours, checking on our vendors, or bouncing from hotspot to hotspot. There was no such thing as stopping, for me, or anyone else all day.

We had everyone from our farm working, including their children and our children. We also had folks from our leased farm, friends from school, customers who pitched in, and pretty much anyone else we could think of. Despite all that, we were simply swamped. When we started this, we hoped we’d get maybe 100 people.

We did 207 transactions in the store on Saturday. A normal Saturday is 30-50. If you figure each transaction represents a family of 5 that means we had 1035 “people” through the store. One of our vendors told us about noon he’d already counted 1000 people who’d come past him. This was two hours in! So that number seems legit.

The never ending line out of the door to the store.
The never ending line out of the door to the store.

Except we had a line out the door ALL DAY. We only have one point of sale system.

The girls, manning the store and handling the crowd.
The girls, manning the store and handling the crowd.

We can only ring people out so fast. (We are already working on this for next time.) Many people didn’t want to wait 30-45 minutes to go into the store and I don’t blame them. People said they’d come back another time.

It’s not a big stretch to assume that if 1035 people were represented in our store, that at least that many decided not to wait in line. That puts us over 2000 people for our barn day. Two THOUSAND people at our little farm. We only have 1300 likes on Facebook currently and we had over 2000 physically present! So this is what it means to “go viral.”

And now, some pics from our day.

Grandma and the baby piglet. There was a steady line all day to see and hold the piglet.
Grandma and the baby piglet. There was a steady line all day to see and hold the piglet.
The baby goats were equally popular.
The baby goats were equally popular.
Tamryn with her goats
Tamryn with her goats
Boys unloading a baby piglet
The boys were everywhere, doing anything that needed to be done.
Mark had a steady stream talking about bees and honey
Mark had a steady stream talking about bees and honey
Mark with bee hives
Of course we had the view windows open on the hives
SWMBO restocking from the stock room freezer
We are out of everything! Restock the store!
Produce from Lee's farm
You’ve been asking for it. We had produce to compliment our store offerings
Jayden and her chickens, letting people have a chance to hold them.
Jadyn and her chickens, letting people have a chance to hold them.

I’ve never seen a chicken on a leash before. Even I learned something.

Aunt Ruby's peanuts
Aunt Ruby’s peanuts were here giving out samples. The chocolate clusters sold out in no time!
Celebrity Goat Dairy setup
Our friends from Celebrity Goat Dairy were here, and ran out of product half way through, but Mary saved the day, as usual!
Spork giving a large tour
Spork giving a tour. This was an average group for the day

We gave tours every half hour, alternating between Spork and I. I’d say we had an average of 50 people per tour. Everyone seemed to enjoy their walk through the farm and we had lots of good questions.

Buh's grilling at Open Barn day
Buh’s BBQ was here and grilling

Buh not only grilled samples all day, he also made our dinner for the after party!

Rosemary playing music at open barn day
We even had live music! Thank you Rosemary!

2000+ people, no accidents, no fights, no police called, nothing caught on fire.

Dan after barn day
The day is over and everyone is safe. Time to enjoy it.

It was pretty much impossible to really be prepared for an event to get this big this quickly. But with the hard work and help of the Clarks, the Deatons, our friends from school, all of our suppliers, Tamryn, our own family, the guys who work here on the farm every day, and of course Grandma we pulled it off with no major blowups. I’m still torn on the propriety of doing this type of an event. I know people got lost in the crowd. I know people will overcook their steaks because I didn’t get to give them one on one instructions. But we had so many positive comments and people who stopped by for the first time because of the event that we definitely did some good as well.

We’ll see. Till then, thank you everyone who worked, attended, or told your friends about us. We had an awesome day.

It’s going to be a good day

This morning at first light I received a text from Dustin. Have you seen this rainbow? I looked out the window and the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen was crossing the sky. The sun had not even come up yet so it was just false dawn. However the rainbow was catching the brighter light that was still not hitting the farm. This made for a deep colored, brightly lit rainbow against a relatively dark world. It was stunning. I ran outside and snapped this picture. A minute later, it was gone. Just a transient beauty, which made it all the more special.

I think it’s going to be a good day.

Rainbow on the day of the Open Barn Day
Our start to the morning at first light

Update from one of the families on the farm. Better picture.

Full rainbow on open barn day
Wow. Just wow.

SWMBO and Lucy were in the store till late last night, receiving in new products, restocks, entering items into the system, and pricing everything so we don’t hear “How much is this?” 200 times today.

The store just before barn day
The store, just before our big event

This is the first time we’ve had the store fully stocked since we expanded it this winter. It’s starting to look pretty nice.

The new display refridgerator
Our new display fridge is finally put together and stocked

The new display fridge has already been worth it’s weight in gold. Now instead of everything being crammed into one little fridge we can space things out and have it more organized.

Stocked shelves in the store
The shelves are fully stocked.

We have lots of new products I haven’t blogged about yet. All are on display and available for sale.

More shelves stocked in the store.
The other side of those shelves
Display cabinet stocked
One of our display cabinets
Our old fridge, now properly stocked instead of being crammed together
Our old fridge, now properly stocked instead of being crammed together

We are as ready as we can be for today. We’ve already had a great start with our rainbow. He have lots of friends coming to help. Now we’ll see who shows up to visit.