Crazy Times Call for Crazy Ideas.
Cast your vote below for our farming future!
Join me in the dusky twilight of last Wednesday. I stepped into my house after being away for just a couple minutes and couldn’t find my 1.5 year old. As any seasoned mother knows, silence is *rarely* golden, so I checked his frequent destination for all things exploratory: the toilet. Not there. I called to him. No answer. Perhaps he scaled the stairs for a grinning get away to his sister’s shelf of “special things”. Still no luck. This unsuccessful search would be dramatically frightening if I hadn’t left my “baby” with my husband.
My futile search gave my shoulders a shrug and assured me that boy-adventure was afoot...somewhere.
Upon raising the white flag of my search, I opened Snap Chat to see my messages. Imagine my surprise when I opened a message from Declan (my 1.5 year old) in a fit of wrestling giggles with daddy - in the hammock, just 20 feet away from my front door. His sisters plowed out the front door to join the party just as Grandma and Grandpa zoomed past our house on the four-wheeler to check the mail.
This was a moment in farm-adise. Chores done, porch lights on, frogs singing, dusk darkening --- all to a chorus of giggles.
On their return trip from the mailbox, Grandma and Grandpa paused at the end of our sidewalk - milk check in hand.(Side note: Farming is so funny to me. Farmer’s do all the work in the whole wide world - then send their product to market, and hope for the best when the check comes back. No guarantees. It’s crazy.)
There are six words you probably don’t want to hear from your farming business partner.
“It has never been so low” would rank somewhere near the top. There it was: $10 and some change for 100 pounds of milk. That’s .88 per gallon. Long story short - it costs a lot more than that to just feed the cows (just the cows - not the farmers)
I don’t mean to be depressing. We’ve all had quite enough of that in the last few months.
What I want to do is give you a taste of the complexity of farming and invite you to create history with us.
So here’s my crazy idea: We (might) be building a farm store! (Sorry middle-man, I need to feed my cows… and my family)
As some of you know, we’ve been selling raw milk from the farm for a few months now. With the rise in raw milk interest (Thank you to everyone who has come out!) - and the crash of milk prices, we feel like it’s the perfect time to make some history. Want to come along?
Option 1: The HarvestSTORE silo
In 2001, Gerdes Dairy Farm suffered a pig barn fire. During that fire, the blue Harvestore Silo was damaged. Since then, we haven’t used it for anything because the roof is rusting and it leaks water. We’ve always toyed with the idea of taking it down… until recently.
Standing in my yard this week with Jonathan and Will (my father-in-law) we weighed all the different options. Build a cute store/shed? Fix the “play house” in my yard? Use the shop? Renovate the silo? One way or another, Gerdes Fresh Farm is *hopefully* getting a storefront. Our circular discussion was ended by the clock: time to milk the cows.
"Well", Will commented as he parted, "might as well get her an impact drill to take a panel off."
That night while the guys milked the cows, I had fun doing what never has been done here - taking apart the silo... who gets to do that?
Option 2: the "Play house"
This cute little shed is in my yard and is currently used for storage... and an unintentional wasp habitat. If we fixed it up - it just might make the perfect farm store.
Option 3: A new Barn/Shed
You've probably seen the kits at home improvement stores - there are lots of great options if you're willing to spend the money! The sky is the limit!
As you can see,
We're still weighing options. Doing research. Price comparing.
So here’s where you come in.
Channel your inner Chip & Joanna and tell us where you think we should make history.
I'm curious to see what you think!
Also - if you've got any scrap building supplies, let's be friends :)
Details to consider: As you'll see in the pictures, due to fire damage, the silo needs a new roof. Will found a used one for $3,000 if we install it ourselves. (More like $10,000 if we hire it!) We'd need to hire a crane on top of the $3,000 unless one of you has a crane sitting around we could borrow :) Once we put the new roof on, we would build the store inside the silo. It would be so cool!
So - here's where you get to cast a completely arbitrary vote - not sayin’ what we’ll do, but click below and vote!