This morning I started cleaning up our farm store building. I washed walls, doors and windows and Eugene put up some pictures on the walls which are in bad need of some sort of painting (and we do not have enough art to cover all the dings and stains on the walls-and we have a lot of art. I come from a family of artists so art is easy to get). Since it is midsummer farmingwise-yeah, I know the solstice is not for another 2 days and that is the official start to summer, the ancient Europeans considered the solstice Mid Summer because this is about the halfway point of the growing season which starts in April/May-We have a lot to do keeping up with weeding (something we did a lot of yesterday and are now pretty close to being on top of the weed problems), harvesting (we now have 5 crops that need daily harvesting which takes about 2 to 3 hours a day to do and soon there will be more daily harvest chores), chickens, planting (we do a lot of succession planting which means we do some planting almost daily for about 9 months a year). This means that we don't really have time to paint the interior of the farm store so for this season at least it will be clean but not well painted.
Now that the place is clean (I still need to vacuum but that won't take long) I now need products to put in the store. I have honey ordered and will be getting some nice candles from a friend at the farmers' market. I will be asking another friend if she wants to offer her soaps at our store (if she has enough). I an thinking about getting some cookbooks and books about organic/sustainable living in the next few weeks and eventually I would like to offer organic inputs for the local gardeners and farmers. But I think that will be at least a year down the road.
You may be thinking, Lucy, you have a produce farm why not sell what you have? We are selling produce and lots of it at the Oxford farmers' market but have few takers for the on farm sales right now. This is because the things that will pull people in off the road are the trinity of corn, beans and tomatoes, things we do not have yet. The beans are flowering and even have tiny beans on them. Perhaps in a week to 10 days we will have some beans. The early tomatoes are just sitting there all green and getting big but still a couple of weeks from getting anywhere near ripe (why does it take the first tomatoes 4 to 5 years to ripen up and than after they are ripe it takes just hours for the rest to go that way?). And our organic sweet corn is apparently a failure according to the farmer growing it. The other person who said they would sell me sweet corn reports his first planting is tasseling, though I do not know if I will be able to buy any of that planting from him. So sweet corn won't be here for another 3 to 4 weeks. We do have a lot of snow peas, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, herbs and specialty zucchini and It is probably time to put them on display in front of the storefront. And we do have signage now.
And to add to all of this I am nervous about this store. I have never had a store of my own and this is different than setting up at the farmers' market (not a lot different but different enough to make me nervous). So I feel as if I have no idea what I am doing. Of course I do have a good idea about what has to be done and it is getting done. Things are really slow business wise out here (but biz is booming at the FM's). And we opened up the store front really before it was ready to be opened (thankfully we have had no one notice). So I think just giving this a bit of time to get going is the best and only course of action. We will be here for many years so we have time to grow this new business properly.
Oh, and the store has some clean shiny windows