Wrapping Up 2018 and Looking Ahead
Towards the end of 2018 there was a lot of reflection and looking back on what had been a hard but amazing year. For our part of Ohio, 2018 was the wettest year on record, and honestly I think the only thing worse than being the wettest year on record would be to have the driest. Wet conditions were especially a fight this fall when it came to muddy conditions for our 4 legged friends and downright deadly at times for our 2-legged and feathered creatures, poultry+rain+chilly/windy=bad. But we survived and looking back we accomplished a ton this year. Not only did I close on a new farm that we will be moving to in 2019, but we also completed the remodel of my original farm house and got it on the market in November (I know, like the worst possible time to try to sell a unique property but farm and remodeling tried to kill me during the summer grind). If you know of anyone looking for either a building lot or a small hobby farm in NW Delaware county, boy do we have a deal for you! Finding a buyer would mean the world to these two farmers and allow us to continue to increase our capacity and keep up with the every growing demand and growth of Central Ohio. Along with these two huge hurdles I also completed the fencing system at the new farm, had a driveway and building pads installed, electric dropped on site, and purchased the shipping containers that will become our new brooders. While all of this was going on I also met Kerissa, she has become an integral part of the my life and the farm team (never thought I'd find a gal living in Columbus who was willing to feed chickens, herd sheep, and castrate pigs). For the record she hates sheep, loves pigs, has mixed feelings regarding chickens, and keeps pushing me to raise cattle, luckily she hates driving with trailers so I don't think I have to worry about calves just showing up one day just yet). Along the way we started attending 2 different farmers markets (Westerville on Saturday Mornings and New Albany Thursday Afternoons), added a few more restaurant customers, and doubled the production of several of our enterprises.
So looking back even though at times it felt like I was just spinning my wheels, was frustrated, and not getting anywhere, we have accomplished some major milestones and checked a bunch of things off our list. We also crossed a huge milestone in that this was our 4th year as a small business and our third year of really being a production farm. They say most small farms (and businesses for that matter) fail within the first 2-3 years and while we still have a long way to go before were truly successful, this is a major hurdle concurred.
So 2019.... We have a ton in store for this coming year and some really lofty goals. First we hope to sell the "OG" Covey Rise Farms, hopefully as soon as possible. When I bought this property I never in my wildest dreams thought that 4 years later we would be raising and selling what we are now, I was always told "oh you'll never be able to farm" or "well you didn't inherit a farm so you won't make it". I have put my heart and soul into remodeling the house and property, and while its not perfect, its a far cry from what it was when I purchased it 4.5 years ago and I hope someone will love it as much as I have. The sale of this helps finance the rest of the new farm expansion so please share our listing if you know anyone wanting to build or move to the country, this is truly gods country and a great place to raise a family. Other goals that we have are hoping to complete include completing the Whole30, building a dedicated farm store and increasing our on farm storage, increasing our production (again...), building out the remaining infrastructure and our new home/shop at the new farm, hosting at least one farm open house, testing shipping both of frozen and non-frozen products, and finally we want to host a Thanksgiving meal for families in need in our community.
Now the test to see if anyone is actually still reading to this point, if you are please comment with your advice, if we don't hear from you we'll just cut the next blog off two paragraphs ago... To help make make it to this initial finish line we continue to need the trust and support of our customers, we challenge every one of you to try to cook 2 meals a weekly using products from local farms. We are also playing with the idea of holding a Kickstarter campaign to help us complete the intial expansion. We have tried to take out as little debt as possible but farming requires a lot of upfront expenses that you than slowly make back over time and we have been in constant expansion mode for 4 years now. We have some great potential incentives for a Kickstarter campagin (everything from meat bundles, logo'd t's, hoodies, and decals, to on farm dinners and events put on by some of Columbus's top culinary talents) but want to hearing peoples feelings on a campaign like this so please let us know your thoughts either publicly or privately. We don't want to let down our customers by failing if it's not seen as a good idea, plus as Kerissa will attest, I am terrible at asking people for help so even exploring this option publicly is a big step out of my comfort zone.
Thank you for all of your support in 2018 and we are looking forward to a great and exciting 2019.
Hope to see you on the farm,
Charlie and Kerissa