(Please make sure to scroll for some very important farm news)
Hello HHF "Farmily":
When I went to write this newsletter I knew it had been awhile since I last wrote but I didn't realize the last time was when we announced the birth and adoption of our son. Needless to say, he just turned a year old and we can't believe how fast the year has gone. It seems as just now, we're getting our feet under us again after the whirlwind adoption process and sudden parenthood: which was about a less than 3 week span from our final home study approval.
2017 was an interesting year for us. We now know what parents mean they say things like, “the days are long but the years are short!” and “ now is when you start counting years as: time before your kids and time after”. This perfect, joyful little human leaped into our lives and immediately we both felt this urge for change - a deep and intuitive whisper in our consciousness saying: “slow….soft….slow down”. We like to work and we’re good at what we do. We’re excited by self employment and co-creative processes. Mike and I have been fairly good at juggling lots of balls in the air and thrived on it for some time...until about a year ago when Alden came and something had to give, but instead of listening to our intuition we tried to keep it all going as it had been because we didn't want to let anyone down and didn't quite know what or how to simplify (which I think is a chronic societal problem...can anyone else relate?).
We've always been open to evolution of the farm business; we never felt that it needed to be some big dramatic shift: maybe a little here and a little there but lately we have felt several big shoves.We had several hard financial hits over this past year - bruising our love for this business a touch - they were blows we didn't’t see coming, couldn't’t have seen coming and we don’t have a safety net left behind us financially to keep taking the hits. This created tension, fear, and exhaustion oftentimes while still trying to maintain positive "we're doing good things and feeding our community" happy faces. We have still relied upon my off-farm photography career to pay the majority of our home bills - neither of us has yet to draw a salary from the farm - all incoming monies have, essentially, gone to pay our initial business loans. We weren't’t given land nor livestock, we pay for every acre and square footage under our care, our savings is depleted, and our overhead expenses were high from Day One. We thought it could work: it did on paper, in theory, in experience - but too many surprises compounded and were too costly. The bruises will heal with time but we need time to breathe and allow the healing to happen.
We have some changes coming (see below). We’re certainly going through our normal emotions of grief combined with excitement for dreaming up the next phase.
LAND: A couple of our leases naturally expired this past year and our lease at our main farm will expire in 2018. We are actively looking for another piece of land to compliment the other two smaller pastures we currently also lease.
PORK (No More...For Now): Due to the main lease expiring, we have also decided to pause on raising pigs until further notice. We're down to our last remaining pigs in the orchard and the freezer is about a full as it can possibly be. We sold our breeding stock over the summer to a sweet home where they will be well cared for and loved . So that means: once the pork in the freezer is gone...it is gone. We encourage you to shop now and shop large. The most coveted cuts, of course, will go first but in honoring the esessence of the animal: please don’t leave us with all hams - in order to have chops….you need to eat a ham. Deal? Great!
FARM STORE (A sweet goodbye): A part of our need for simplifying is the decision to close our retail store. December 30 will be our last open date at 7 River Lane in Sperryville. In some ways the decision was very difficult: our conversations with you all have been lovely and the true meaning of community through connection and authenticity. How will you buy our meat? Well. We’re still working on that plan officially. The Sperryville Corner Store carries some, we sell whole and half animals (Spring Beef Reservations NOW OPEN), the Willowsford Farm Stand in Ashburn carries us, and, if you’re local, we’re happy to put together wish list orders for you to pick up before the 30th. Or give us a budget and we'll put together a farmer's choice bag for you. If there is any inventory after the 30th (we hope not!) then we can set appointments for a pick up. We realize that’s not the most convenient but that’s as good as we can do right now and we'll keep you posted as more of the plan emerges. FARM STORE FREEZER CHALLENGE: NOW IS THE TIME TO STOCK UP - FILL YOUR FREEZERS AND EMPTY OURS!!! We have several very large bills and loan payments to pay before the year is up and we have that cash sitting….in the freezer….waiting for you. We’re open Fridays & Saturdays from 11-5 and Sundays from 12-5 and by appointment. We hope to see you soon!
Along with our beef, lamb, and pork we also have a full inventory of our no nitrate beef snack sticks (those ship well) and dog treats made in-house from our beef and lamb liver. We have a few of our Mangalitsa salamis on hand from the last batch we had made, so grab one of those while you can!
This year Jodi has also branched out on her own with her candles. She's using lard from our pigs as well as from our neighbors as the base for her candles. Send her some love this holiday season and check out her Etsy shop.
We’re being open about this because this farm life is raw, vulnerable and real and, gosh, sometimes we think the world needs a little more real and a little less reality TV. We always made the best decision we knew to make at the time with the information at hand. That’s all anyone can ever do. We will keep farming. We’re not just sure exactly what phase two looks like yet...and that’s okay. We’ll keep you posted. Thank you for being a part of our lives: truly.
Molly, Mike & Alden
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