The past month has been exceedingly challenging. We ran up against a brick wall with the micro creamery project - electricity. The electricity on the farm is too low of a voltage to handle all that we do right now... which is why our bulk tank condenser or store coolers go out on a monthly basis. It was looking like the project was dead. We had reached a point we really did not think we would make it another thirty days and were considering selling the cows rather than watching them starve. Hay is 50% higher than last year and without farmers market income... our milk sales are less than our hay payment. I don't know when I have been so scared for us and our family. Not only would this have meant we were out of business but also homeless.
Then a miracle happened. We were offered a farm close by with 160 acres, pastures we can graze immediately, an owner wanting to build us a milking barn and a real micro-creamery and a country store all on the farm! It seemed unreal. One of our customers (and friend) referred one of his friends who has offered to do all of the construction at cost and negotiated getting materials at the wholesaler's cost. Unbelievable! The farm did not have electrical service.. only a small turbine and one solar panel so a line had to be run to OPPD for service. All of this at significant cost to the owner. To add to this he has given us a 15 year lease with rent 60% less than what we were paying here and allowing us to stay rent-free through this difficult winter.
I have been wanting to update everyone but things have been so precarious. We needed to give notice at our current farm and explain why we have to leave. Its simply a matter of survival and hopefully they will understand that.
So there... its out. We are moving to a new farm and building a new barn and cheese plant (whew.. that feels good!) . The last four weeks I have been keeping this to myself and wanting to share what was going on and it was so uncomfortable. I have been asked many times why we share so many personal details.. the answer is because it just feels better to be honest, painfully honest at times. What is the point of just telling everyone that everything is perfect? But I sometimes worry about seeming depressed or depressing. I am not. In fact nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, its true our family has been to hell and back and at times even we have wondered why we are on this path and how to get off. This being said... God's hand has always been shown. There has always been protection. We are so blessed. We are blessed with family, friends, customers that we love and appreciate. Our needs have always been met. Last year at Christmas when we had no way to pay our already past due electric bill... an anonymous check came in the mail. This year when we first started feeding hay and had no way to pay our rent.. a customer left a check in the store fore the exact amount of our rent. Make no mistake... WE ARE BLESSED! and we are thankful.
More details to come soon for now all operations are still at the Elmwood farm. We will let everyone know before we move the cows.
Artisan Cheesemaker. Lover of all foods dairy..