From the beginning, we have sold random products from the farm. It has been fun and enjoyable (mostly!)
However, we have been working for the past couple of years to “streamline” and “reduce” some of the extras that we do.
The first to go was eggs. We decreased our flock a few years ago and are happy with our remaining 9 chickens! (Oh, and Mr. Rooster). We never made a profit on selling eggs – it was always a breakeven endeavour that consumed time and energy. When we started with chickens (we used to have over 100!), one bag of organic feed was $23 (delivered to our barn). Nine years later, feed is $47/bag. We increased the price of eggs from $6/dozen to $7/dozen but any math will tell you that we are subsiding the eggs (even when we sold years ago at $6/dozen)! And we never included our labour in that calculation, or things like electricity to keep the water from freezing or bedding for the chickens or egg cartons or stickers (you get the idea…) Our electricity bill is now three times what it was 3 years ago. We really enjoyed the chickens and collecting eggs and everything else that went with it, but it did not make sense to continue.
(And before anyone tells us that chickens do not need feed from the feed store – this is true. However, the alternatives all require time. Anyone who gets food from programs like LOOP will tell you about the significant time investment required (what what on earth do you do with all the packaging waste?!) And you really need pigs if you get waste from LOOP as chickens do not eat donuts. We used to get scraps from a restaurant in Calgary and it certainly helped reduce the amount of chicken feed but there are now large scale composting programs for restaurants in Calgary and Meghan no longer works in the city.)
The next thing that is going is the honey. Meghan’s mom (Maurita) is the beekeeper. Meghan’s mom also turned 74 last summer! The decision was made to sell the remaining hives and equipment in the spring of 2024. Meghan has become allergic to bee stings (only 3 ER trips so far) and it not practically able to help with the hives. Maurita loves her bees and is already grieving their eventual loss but we all think it’s better to let them go while we can still properly care for them than to wait until we cannot. The bees have also been a net loss to farm revenue. Everything required to keep the bees happy and healthy (from supplementary feed to glass jars) has increased in price dramatically. What used to be a smaller subsidy has become too large to ignore. We also had to replace electric fence energizers and batteries this year – so if we did make any profit, it was already gone!
Fresh mushrooms/fresh veggies. We never really sold a lot of these items and the scale that we grow at makes it too labour intensive. We still grow a fair amount of vegetables and mushrooms for our family but do not sell them.
Bottom line – the farm does not really sell anything at the moment! However, Fungi Akuafo sells a lot of mushroom spawn and workshops. That is where a significant amount of energy and time has been going.