What’s the plan?
We ask ourselves that a lot… The ideas we had before moving to the farm have certainly changed over time. We have a better idea now of what’s possible. We are also better versed in regulations and the barriers they impose.
Here’s a chart of some of the things we talk about!
|Goose meat||Unable to find a slaughter house to process our geese. Searched within 4 hours of farm. Nothing.||The geese are very easy to raise and we love having them at the farm. We have one breeding pair that are only about 4 years old and they should live to be at least 20!|
|Apples||We have planted various apple trees (approx 25 trees). Most were planted in 2015. We have the following varieties: Trust, Autumn Delight, Ducheese, Goodland and Norkent. We need to learn how to: prune, graft, manage disease/pests, harvest and store the apples. That's before we process them into anything. If we process apples, we need a commercial kitchen and permits.||Trees are growing! We have lost 2 grafts that I know about so far. Trees require a lot of protection from deer and bears. Electric fence should help with bears. The wire fencing around each tree is working for deer at the moment but will need a better system when the trees are bigger. We are experimenting with two ground covers around the trees to reduce grass and increase aesthetics.|
|Cherries||We have planted about 10 sour cherry bushes. There are three varieties: Carmine Jewel, Valentine, and Romeo. We need to check again which ones are doing better than others. All were planted in 2015. If we process the cherries, we will need a commercial kitchen and permits.||Overall, the cherries seem to be more resistant to insect pests but we have lost about 3 plants during the winter months.|
|Berries||We have a few berries around. We have planted service berry, elderberry, josta berry and raspberry. We also have thousands of wild raspberry plants on our farm.||There are huge berry farms near us. They have thousands of plants and the ability to store/process the berries. We cannot compete with this. The only thought is to add berries to preserves or do something else with them but it will require that commercial kitchen that keeps coming up... Farmers markets only allow people to make jam, jelly and pickles in their kitchens for sale at approved farmer's markets.|
|Plums||In 2017, we planted 3 plum trees (Fofonoff plum, Canada plum (polinator), and Pembina plum.) They were all still alive the last time we checked. We can sell fresh fruit with no permits but if we process it at all, we'll need a commercial kitchen.|
|Raspberry leaf||We have thousands of wild raspberry plants. We have not been able to figure out much about raspberry leaf. To dry it we need a commercial kitchen. We need a herbalist to point us in the right direction (we may not even have the right variety of raspberry.)|
|Nuts||We planted about 8 hazelnuts bushes (2016) and a lot of Korean pine nut trees (2015). So far, we have 2 Korean pines still alive! This is a long term project. 20+ years.|
|Chicken Eggs||We started selling chicken eggs in 2015. We will stop in fall 2017. We were not able to cover the costs of buying organic feed, chicks, bedding, and transportation. We quit tracking the time required to clean/sort the eggs, acquire used egg crates and the administrative work of customer communication and tracking. Just know, the eggs were subsidized...||We enjoy having the chickens although getting through the winter is a challenge. We will always have some chickens around for ourselves. We have a lot of predator pressure that requires serious fencing and guard dogs.|
|B+B||We looked into B+B regulation. To run a B+B, it has to be a bedroom INSIDE your house and you can only serve BREAKFAST. This is very limiting. There are no restaurants near us. We'd need to at least be able to pack lunches to make a B+B viable. Also, the only bedroom we have available is quite small. We have thought of extending our house downstairs to free up the master bedroom for a B+B in a few years but that is a major investment. We aren't sure who would want to stay as far from the nearest town as we are.|
|Honey||We currently have 6 hives and own most of the equipment we need. We purchased an extractor in 2017. However, we have found it hard to cover our costs for the honey. We will continue to have bee hives and if we have success over the winter, we can split our hives and continue to keep between 6 and 10 hives.||Beekeeping is quite time consuming and you need to be very strong. There is a huge amount of information you need to understand and to keep up on bee diseases/risks. We love having the bees but when we have weeks without rain (August 2017), then the flowers quit blossoming and the bees start to starve. We then need to feed the bees and any income we made in honey sales goes into supplies to feed. To have better honey harvests, we need to plan for an irrigated wild flower garden that is large enough to feed ~40,000 * 6+ bees. We think we can make this happen but it will be a lot of labour to organize. We need to collect more water in the spring (big expense - more ponds).|
|Mushrooms||We started www.fungiakuafo.com!||We have been producing mushrooms spawn but no fresh mushrooms. We have a lot of logistics to figure out how to get fresh mushrooms to market. We also have not built a fruiting room that is climate controlled to do this. We are hoping to find a partner that wants to fruit the mushrooms and add them to their existing supply chain.|
|Vegetables||We have a greenhouse and root vegetable garden. We could expand but there are already many farms doing this.|
|Workshops||We plan on running fungi workshops at the farm. We are unable to serve food or host people overnight due to regulations. There are also traffic restrictions and we need to apply for permits to allow increased traffic to our farm.|
|Agritourism||We hope to run tours in the future! We need more to show people before we start doing this. It will happen if we have enough fungi growing around and other successful projects.|