Once again, I have let the time and calendar flick past and have failed at my commitment to keep this blog as current as I had planned...I know the excuse has been overplayed, but it really has been hard to find the “me time” required to actually record our thoughts and updates, with so much going on around the farm – but there you have it…the same excuse used another time.
So last time I wrote I filled you all in on our official product launch, but in all the excitement of making the announcement I now realize I didn’t really give a lot of the back story as to the how’s, what’s and why’s of launching the product when we did…heck we haven’t even had a chance to update the website, and still owe you updated pictures and info on the animals, the farm grounds, and even the farmers themselves…
Originally, we had been working off of a plan that would have had us launch product and start the retail aspect of this enterprise in the spring (spring of 2017 to be exact); however through the encouragement and excitement received through Allyson’s participation in the LEAP program (see last blog) we decided to jump the gates a little earlier than planned – just to see what would happen.
Well what happened….?
Through our social media sharing (primarily Facebook); word of mouth from customers; and of course the relentless support of our friends and family – the initial product reception was…how do the kids say it these days… “OFF THE HOOK” (actually I think that saying might be dated now, but I don’t think our junior farmers in the house read the blog so I should be ok).
We received lots of great feedback, and the product line was so well received that we were running out of and madly re-creating several line items…not a bad position to be in. In fact, sales were so positive over the Christmas season that we are planning on doubling our production fields, and hope to have another 800 plants in the ground this spring.
As all our products are handmade we do have to be realistic about what we can produce, but “realistic” hasn’t quite been defined yet, so all steam ahead is the mantra of the day.
Over the next few months we will undergo a few operational changes based on the feedback we received from several focus group panels…ok…maybe not focus groups exactly but feedback all the same.
Some of the changes you can watch for include:
-rebranding to Sunshine Coast Lavender Farm (opposed to the current Sunshine Coast Lavender)
- A brand split of our product line with the bulk of our Lavender products marketed through the for mentioned brand, and a separate product line through Segador Farms
- A re-do, re-vamp, re-launch of our website(s)
- an onsite retail space here at the farm
- Some exciting collaborations and partnerships with a few other local businesses
But we will elaborate on each of these items as they arise.
Over the past year, we have been fortunate to learn lots, receive feedback, and adjust and maneuver as needed.
One aspect of our endeavor that we really want to highlight and ensure works well is the relationship that exists between agriculture and residential neighboring properties.
In today’s growing populations, and sprawling urban requirements, agricultural land is often re-zoned and refocused to residential development; and as a result agricultural lands, and by nature agricultural industries, are shrinking in our province, and new ways of thinking are required, including how to create working relationships between the various interested parties.
As is often the case, our property, with an agricultural allowed zoning, borders residential, and we have tried to be very cognizant of the impact our activities might have on our neighbors…in fact one of our goals is to show others that agricultural and residential properties don’t have to be at odds, and can work side by side through open dialogue, and we are grateful that our neighbours let us know when they have concerns….like when Lorenzo the Livestock Guardian gets a little too vocal; although we felt bad we let it go as long as we did, we appreciated the fact that our neighbours were able to voice their concern (and express their understanding)….as is the learning curve we face!
There are a number of agricultural pursuits on the coast that face similar concerns (and additional hurdles), and I encourage you to seek them out and show them your support – in most of the cases I see, they too work hard at fostering a good relationship and communal balance with their neighbours.
For those of you that follow us on Facebook; and any of you that have wound up within ear shot of any of us on the farm over the past few days already know, we’ve also had a few additions arrive on the farm over the weekend…yes that’s right we’ve hatched a bunch more chickens….
Although that’s true – that really isn’t the new arrivals that we have been excited about – don’t get me wrong – hatching eggs will always be exciting, but the reality is we’ve been there done that and now that’s sooooooo 2016 – Nope the really big new is the birth of the baby goats, or “kids” as they are apparently called.
Yup on Saturday January 21, 2017 at about 4:30am the baby monitor (yes I said baby monitor) lit up our master bedroom with strobing red and white lights, and audibly squawked the beginning of Momma Goat’s labour…. shortly thereafter, and without incident we welcomed triplets into the barn…and then on Sunday evening; roughly around the dinner hour, a fourth arrival came via Ms. Red (presently we still await the birth of Lil’ Sis’s offspring, but that could happen at any time), and as of now we have welcomed 3 baby bucks and one baby doe into the herd (no I will not call them bucklings and doelings, so when Farmer Ally does just shake your head in disbelief and realize there are no such words in the English language).
The birth of a living creature is truly an awe inspiring and beautiful thing…it’s also absolutely disgusting!!!!
Right now I’m looking over top of the monitor of my laptop, looking at my fellow farmers and realizing that I’m going to catch a little flack for this…in fact I am…as we speak…realizing that when the brand split of products is finalized it will present an opportunity to have separate blogs…separate for the multiple personalities of the writer (I wonder if there is a maximum allowable number of blogs for an individual)….one for the poignant and elegance of farm life that simply pokes you right in the feels and makes you happy….and the other for the more cynical smack you in the face realities of the day that cuts through the touchy feely everything is wonderful aspects of gets right into the blood (and afterbirth) of real life.
Yes birthing is beautiful, but it’s also messy and gross; but for now we only have one blog so birthing is just beautiful…….for now!
You would think that after reproducing thrice ourselves in real human life, the birth of goats might be a little underwhelming, but truth be told there is something about the basic, natural process we witnessed, without the use of hospital gadgets, and pre-natal education undertaken by the mother, that is pretty dang inspiring.
To see this animal just let nature take it’s course, and then naturally know and accomplish the tasks to be undertaken, and the jobs that needed doing…well there are not many words that I can find at the moment to describe it…
So with all of the above I will bid you adieu, and leave you with these pictures of our new arrivals, and hope that pictures will help portray to you some of the same feelings we have been fortunate enough to experience this weekend…(photo credit to one of our junior farmers)!