Monday, March 14, 2011

Generally speaking...about the Farm Store

"I went to a general store but they wouldn't let me buy anything specific "
                                                                     -Stephen Wright

Our farm store, the Spotted Wattle is doing well, thanks for asking. We bought the little building at the end of last summer. Keith and our three sons did all the electrical, insulation and other work like installing the two large freezers. I painted. They painted. I painted again.

We opened it for business in November.

Every day we learn something new about running the store. We have regular business hours but seems something always comes up where both of us have to be gone from the farm for awhile. Just as we were contemplating doing a self-serve deal, one of our customers came while we were gone, selected meat, weighed the meat and left appropriate payment.

Our customers...brilliant !

Other store issues included the following
     What to stock ?
     How much ?
     Should we sell items for other farmers ?
     What are the rules and regs for this ?
     Do we even want to know the rules and regs for this ?
     What about risk and liability ? I could drop burger on my feet.
     Do I need a permit ?
     Should I buy items from others on consignment or buy them outright ?
     If I don't sell the 20 lip balms I just purchased will my family accept them as Christmas gifts ?
    Should I test, use, bake with , everything I sell so I can honestly promote those items ?
    If I keep eating and testing everyone Else's products will I ever lose weight ?

And the most important question.   How do I keep the floor clean ?!?!?!?

To date we carry a fair variety for a dinky on site farm store. Specifically, our own certified organic meat, all natural lip balms, certified organic corn meal and wheat flour, pasture raised turkey, Aztec Blue Corn Meal, All natural popcorn and soap made by yours truly.

Free range eggs from two area farmers. Emily Jones and the McWilliams family
Find them at and

In future blogs I will continue to take pictures of items we sell and give you contact info about the local farms in this area, their services, their products and their visions.

Now, if any of you have had experience with running a farm store, the kind that is located on your own property, please share your findings with the rest of us. What kind of restrictions did you find with your county and state authorities ? Which items sold best ? How did you market your store ?  And of course,  How did you keep the floor clean ? 

Thanks a million.

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