How do you start a farm? Well, you get a hundred acres or so, just buy it or inherit it or something, make sure it has a farmhouse on it. Gets lots of fuzzy animals that want to work for room and board. Grow tons of fabulous food.
This was my vision of a farm and how to start one. Just do everything at once and get really lucky and somewhat rich to start it. My vision has changed. I see that farming can be on a large scale or small. That farmers usually start small and work their way up to more. More fields growing, more animals, more customers.
Here at Pumpkin Hollow Farm I had my first farmer’s market as a farmer! Okay, okay, so I had two bags of greens. I went out at dawn and carefully picked two bags of delicious, heirloom baby greens, radishes, and cherry tomatoes. I washed them, shook them dry, and packed them into cellophane. They sold almost immediately. A vendor bought one of them for her lunch. A stick had made it into the bag and she laughingly called it fiber. Folks that want organic, hand picked vegetables understand that the occasional spider or stick will make its way into the salad! She said it was really delicious and that made my day and fueled me to up production and become an even more real farmer.
I brought preserves from the root cellar and sold out of pickles. I baked four loaves of bread and sold one of them (more for us!). I sold a dozen eggs.
The herbal medicines that we bring out to these markets have been our sole income for four years now. Surrounded by new customers at new markets, there was a lot of interest in them and they sold well for a first market. We will continue to be herbalists and sell the herbal remedies along with our farm goods. It was so fun hearing Doug say, “All these things were made on our farmstead in Kiowa.” We sold teas, coffee, soap, lotion, and aprons as well.
The day before was our first Farmgirls market where Nancy and I and our farm girl daughters and granddaughter headed out in ridiculously high winds to a new market donning aprons and goods from our homesteads. Nancy sold two bags of greens (they may have been too hidden), and baked goods, eggs, and we both sold preserves (mostly pickles!). The herbals did well there too. It feels like we are crossing the line from wannabe to farmers. Perhaps our income tax returns will list “Farmer” as our profession.
My friend, Eileen, a fellow blogger, started a CSA from her one acre farm. Nancy and I started taking our homestead goods to farmer’s markets. A roadside stand could sell excess produce and farmstead goods. Starting a farm is easier than I thought. Grow stuff. Sell it.
We are a little (okay very) worried about where we are moving too. It is nearly impossible to find a house to rent once you divulge how many animals and chickens you have. Even places in the country for rent have no pet policies. But I know that it will all work out and as the saying goes, “Home is Where the Heart Is.” I think it should say, “Home is Where the Farm Is!”