It was late in July of 2019 as I waited with anticipation for the inspector for the final approval of our meat handling license. He arrived, did a thorough inspection of our storage and handling facility, reviewed our labeling, distributions process and records, and went over again the many USDA rules and regulations. Our inspection passed, the inspector drove away, and our first customer was patiently waiting to purchase a sampler package. As our happy customer drove off, Josh and I started down the path of a new adventure. For us it was a day of celebration and the tail end of a long and tedious process with many years of planning. Little did we know that this day was also the beginning of something miraculous.
After a few years of struggling as a cow/calf operation, (as most of them do) the decision to follow our dream and move forward to a farm to table business came along with the worry and concern about the cost, commitment ,and risks that all new business owners encounter. Josh and I were both working full-time jobs, both necessary to keep the farm going. To work around the logistics of adding a direct marketing and distribution business to two full- time jobs, and a full-time grazing operation, we decided to go online. Prior to that exciting day in July, we had put years into growing the beef and many months of work into building a website, lining up vendors and processing, labeling approvals testing, planning, installing storage and freezers, and the list goes on. Our goal was to do this right, and we wanted to accurately reflect our farm’s mission and how we are improving the land and animal health.
On that hot July day, things finally seemed to be falling into place, but that is not the end of our story. Fast forward just a few weeks later when we received the wonderful, yet surprising news that our family was about to double and just three months later Wil and Wes made their debut. Yes. I said three! I honestly believe that God saw the sincerity in our hearts and our passion to take care of his land and animals and decided it was the right time to send us children to be raised to appreciate the gifts we are given. Had we known at the time what the immediate future had instore for us, we may not have had the courage to take the financial leap. God’s keeping of our boys’ pending arrival a secret allowed me to focus on the long tedious startup process that it took to get our grass-fed beef business off the ground. Just another confirmation that we have chosen the right path. Needless to say, after the exciting news, our plan went off course a bit for the first few months and then in 2020 we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic and a beef processing bottleneck that no one could have predicted.
Two years later, we are still here doing what we love and doing it even better. Things have changed a bit in our home, and we have had to make a few modifications to our plan, but it is all worked out as it should. We have taken the backroad, but the drive has been so much sweeter. We are happy to celebrate our two-year anniversary of our first farm-to- table sale and so excited for what the future holds.