Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meat Broker by Day, Exhausted by Night

Recent warm weather begat fog which begat ice

So here we are...still in limbo. We broke up with our realtor about a month ago and then started dating the new guy last week. I like the new guy better, probably because he's a little  like me, well, to be truthful, he's a LOT like me...oh OK,  he  IS me.

 For Sale By Owner is the new guy and we're getting along pretty well. No sale yet but at least I can check my account as often as I want and see how many people have looked at out listing. Sure, it's probably just some guy with his finger on the "number of times listing viewed" button but it makes me feel like action is being taken.

Vampires, witches and werewolves are nothing
compared to the
dreaded Cow Ghosts of Central Illinois
The actual MLS listing won't be in place for a few more days but we did get our big FSBO sign in the mail today. Complete with a plastic box for your flyer's to be grabbed by any drive bys, it all looks very official.

In the meantime it is still business as usual except that like here is never "usual" or "routine" or "stable" It is in fact chaotic and unpredictable. Several months ago another farmer in our area , one who does not raise all his animals on his own farm, and has been known to feed his all natural livestock some very suspicious meals, began undercutting the restaurant business of reputable farmers in this region. Offering his meat for a much cheaper price, the restaurants we had been selling to for a number of years stopped ordering from us.

This could have been disastrous for us but as that door closed another opened rapidly; our farm store business took off. Yes, we could've fought for the restaurant business we worked so hard to build but
why? Driving so often to Chicago was wearing us down. Being gone all day making several deliveries exhausted us and then caused us to get further behind on all that needed to be done HERE.

So, we decided to accept the gift that was being given us. The gift of time, the gift of improved finances (our profit margin is slightly higher with store sales as compared to restaurant sale) the gift of improved customer relations. (More time at home meant more time to visit with our direct farm visitors)

It's not that we have quit the restaurant business, its more that they quit us about the same time we needed to be quit upon. In the last 3 months our farm store sales have increased by 30% , not just in new customers but also in repeat customers who keep showing up...repeatedly. Some days we only have 1-2 customers so we have lots of time to do work in between. Other days we have 8-9 customers and I start fantasizing about hiring a part time person for the store duties.

We are also thinking about starting a bulk buyers club (thank you Doug D. for the idea), building a petting zoo (liability issues be damned, kids need to be able to TOUCH animals) , planting a cutting flower garden around the farm store (I blame Miss Effie for this idea) and maybe taking on some interns. (Spence Farm, you know this one is your fault.)

Sure enough, once we get all this in place the farm will sell.

Mark my herds.


  1. Just when you start to get things to a manageable state and start to think that maybe you will just keep on keeping on...that is exactly what will happen. A buyer will show up the day before you decide to take the sign down.

  2. That's pretty much how I see it, too. I'm thinking about tearing out the old bathrooms, up-dating them. But, then we'd have to sell for some reason, and I'd never get to enjoy all that work.

  3. I busted out laughing at the drive buys...but I'm not there during rush hour.

  4. Seeing the icicles on the trees has made me (at long last) look up where Illinois is. So now I know!

    Like with all property sales, the right buyer will turn up at the right time (fingers crossed).

  5. And if you need some help .. let me know. I am always here. Well ... for the moment ... in 2 months ... its dirt time!!!

    Seriously... I do order some extra stuff .. lots of extra stuff.

    I can share. :)

  6. That is soooo wonderful that you are thinking about doing a petting zoo & flower cutting garden and such. And you're right, kids (and even some adults) NEED to know where their food comes from and NEED to know about animals. It almost brings me to tears knowing that you are willing to do something so "mundane" as provide a place to pet animals and enjoy flowers, but it is something that is greatly needed in our current society. I'm also glad to hear that you are able to make up the loss of restaurant business with the farm store business....serving people closer to home, and you get to be AT home!

  7. Oh, and almost forgot, if you don't mind, go back to my post on the Challenge, I wrote a lengthy response. And a plea! :)

  8. In love with yet another post! All of this sounds great! All you need is a crazy Northerner to come down and teach a few classes for a big open farm day....oh...wait..

    Seriously though, I am loving your good news.

    AND, I think it would be EXCELLENT to name a soap Celtic Ice Moon! :)

  9. Funny how opportunities so often come dressed up as disasters.

    Hang in there.


    ps Ghost cows hmmmmm.... .sounds like the kernel of an idea for a children's mystery novel. :^)

  10. did a bit of perusing. sounds like you're busy as can be, but also doing pretty okay with a good farm-based business. then you're selling the farm? ?? :) i know. it is a TON of work...

  11. I'm so thrilled for you that the farm store is taking off!! I'm sure it has as much to do with your fabulous soaps as any of the milk or meat...