Shipment Updates & Co-op

For people who are waiting on shipments from us, they will go out this week. Sorry for the delay. It’s been a bit nuts here trying to get CSA orders shipped and dealing with soap cure time being off schedule but we’re getting it under control.

There are many of you who follow this blog that are members in the Fall Line Farms Co-op and have been our devoted customers since it began last November. I wanted to let you know that we will no longer be participating in the Co-op as a Producer. There many reasons why and this is not the venue to explain but I did want to let you all know that you can always order our products direct from us and delivery to the Richmond Virginia area will be free. Also, you can stop by the retail outlets we have  and find our full line of products, except the Wool/Alpaca Socks, they would need to be ordered direct through us. Email us breezehillfarm@verizon.net for a list of retail outlets or any questions you may have.

I will keep you all updated on events that we will be participating in between now and Christmas. You already know what great gifts our goats milk soap, lotions and socks make – and they don’t break the bank! Please know how much we value your business and want to keep as many of you as customers as we can.

Speaking of products and business, I need to get to work on making soap and lotion today. Orders are backing up again.

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The Icelandic’s Have Arrived!

Several months ago, I share pictures from a farm visit, where I had looked at Icelandic sheep. Holly, one of those sheep, already had been chosen to come to our farm but she need a buddy. Well, I finally made a decision and we picked up our two new sheep Saturday evening from Magi’s Wood Farm. They are absolutely beautiful – well you be the judge- meet Holly & Ricky (girl).

Holly-Ricky

New Girls Meeting "Roy"

New Girls Meeting "Roy"

I can’t wait until we shear them next month so I’ll have their fleeces to work with.

We were told several things about these sheep that had given us some cause for concern. First, we were told they aren’t real big on flocking. The first day that seemed to be true but if there is a grain bucket involved they seem to flock just fine. We were also told that the Border Collies could not herd them. This isn’t exactly so, you see, if all the sheep are together, they can all be herded. While I feel like the new girls tolerate our sheep, I know they much prefer the the goats. After the song I heard the other day, “Sheep Go To Heaven..Goat’s Go To Hell”, I don’t know that I like this bond so much..HaHa!!

Well I’m off to make soap. The Green Market at Brandermill is Thursday and as always, I’m not ready! Someday I will get caught up, maybe in January?? I’m looking at this market as the launch of “crazy season”. Wow! It’s hold on time. By the way Molly, from Fall Line Farms Co-op will be there signing up new members for the Winter Season

In my next blogpost I will introduce you to our new project that I will be partnering up with Nadolski’s Butcher Shop in Goochland Virginia on. It’s new, exciting and on the path of my true passion. Can’t wait!

Until next time, be safe and enjoy this wonderful Indian Summer weather.

Time On The Move

I can’t believe that it’s the middle of August. Time has just gotten away from me and I suppose that’s the case with everyone. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I announced our Spring Fiber CSA and as of today, word from the Mill is all of the fiber should be spun into yarn and ready to ship by the end of the week. It seems as though they wanted to get the really large orders out as soon as possible..my good and our shareholders good. All of the Roving is ready for shipping now and should go out Friday.

So many people have emailed me asking if we have any plans for a Fall CSA. As of right now, no. I am trying very hard to get all of the soap and lotion orders caught up before the Holiday season gets here and I’m not sure that I’ve got it in me to set up another CSA for the Fall. The only thing that makes me want to say yes, is all of the fiber I still have here at the farm. It would be nice to move it out of the loft before next Spring. We are working on another idea though for Fall that I will discuss more in upcoming blogs. It’s a little different but I think that the concept might be well received. Keep checking back to find out more.

As of last count, I have moved over 300 bars of soap out of here since the 1st and that’s what I am doing today..making soap. It’s amazing how well this side of the farm business is doing. We just shipped a very large order to Italy yesterday and I am working on a pretty good size order to deliver tomorrow locally. Breeze Hill Farm is becoming a household name in the states and abroad. Can’t beat that, eh?

I wish I could say that our Co-op sales were this good but they aren’t. I don’t know what is going on but each week sales are consistently going down to the point that this week we’ve sold less than $100.  of product. We love this Co-op and the other producers and members but it gets a bit costly to travel close to 100 miles to deliver so little. Maybe everyone is concentrating on final vacations and school starting. Don’t know but I miss my customers! Our products in a “food” Co-op have been fairly hard to sell anyway. Try as we may, we just can’t seem to get the point across that we are trying to “take care of outside while the food producers are taking care of the inside”. The fact that our soaps are molded in pretty molds doesn’t take away from the benefits of goats milk soap for the skin and our lotions and creams are just wonderful, for the whole family. Of course, being a producer, I just want everybody to buy bunches all of the time. Maybe in the Fall.

Got to get back to the soap. Everybody have a great day!

CSA Update and More

I cannot believe how quickly a week..or two goes by! Each time I blog, I promise to do so more often and the next thing I know it’s been a week or more since my last post. Apparently, having employees is how so many of you farmers/business owners are able to blog constantly. I find that there are simply not enough hours in a minute.

First thing I want to cover is the progress on the fiber processing for the CSA. I talked with the Mill Thursday. All of the blending and carding is complete and they anticipate that spinning will start by month end. The good news, for those who purchased the roving shares, the roving is being shipped this week. That shipment should be in by the end of the week and we will start sorting out the natural shares next week. I will start dying the dyed shares the following week and those should be ready for shipping to our shareholders the last week of August. Our plan is to have a small gathering the last Saturday of this month for roving pickup and for any other shareholders who want to come out for the day. We will have a lot going on for everyone to enjoy and there will be lots of food and drink. For those who wish to come in from out of town, we have reserved our favorite, local B & B for the entire weekend. Email me at breezehillfarm@verizon.net to let me know if you need lodging.

It was pretty exciting to see Breeze Hill Farm listed as the “Featured Producer” this week with Fall Line Farms Co-op. We are so happy with how successful the Co-op has been its first two seasons and look forward to season #3. Check them out, if you aren’t already a member. Several of our drop/pick up points are now carrying our products, so if you forget to order from the Co-op, you can pick up extra items from these these points. Gather carries a complete line of  our wonderful goat’s milk soaps and Cavanna Pasta has a nice sampling of our entire line of goat’s milk products. Weekly we are increasing our outlets for our products and are so happy when we hear from our customers through referrals.

Well, that about covers everything for now. I am off to make another large batch of lavender soap, so I’ll be very relaxed by the end of this day!

Snakes In The House

I’m sure that everyone has noticed my absence, well there is a reason for that. We’ve had an in house snake issue and I have finally grown brave enough to go back into the office. Kinda hard to run the business end of a business when you can only use the computer when Hubby is home from work. For my entire life I have been terrified of snakes. I’ve grown to accept the fact that black snakes are good to have at the barn but when they decide to come in for some air conditioning, it’s too much. I’ve been told that we are “blessed” to have a black snake in the house..not sure on what planet that’s true! So, this is why I’ve been missing.

Aside from the aforementioned, it’s been crazy busy here. We shipped off all of the fiber Friday to the mill. I decided to hold back all of the colored fleeces this time to work on processing myself. When we first started out in 1994, I did all of the processing and did so for years. In some ways I miss having that control but it has become much more practical to send it off. There were some absolutely incredible fleeces this year. We have two white ewes that double any fleece produced by a ram and it’s almost Merino quality. Can’t wait for everything to come back.

We worked the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market yesterday. Good Lord it was hotter than the hinges of hell! As always, I set up the spining wheel but could only spin in short spurts. My hands were so sweatie that I couldn’t get the fiber off of me. Fiber sales were off but the soaps and lotions did really well. I love the fact that this is a producers only market and they stick to that rule. There are so many F.B.N. (fly by night) soap people, that only use melt and pour soaps that are trying to infiltrate the market these days that it makes it hard for an honest producer to sell their product. You would think that something as pure and natural as soap making could escape all of the nasty back biting and unhealthy competition but apparently that is no longer the case. It’s really quite sad that many of us do our level best to be helpful to up an coming producers, then they come behind us with substandard products and cheaper prices than we charge. They are arogant and down right nasty and plow through us like yesterdays news. We can only hope that in the end, the consumer can see through the outward charm and realize that the quality and pride doesn’t exist with these people. OK, sorry about the rant but I know that many of our fellow producers know exactly what I’m talking about here.

A month or so ago, another producer accused me of being a “thief”. While I can understand her feelings, being called a thief was directed at an innocent mistake. For 15 years, I have worked hard to establish a strong customer base, been truthful, have done it on my own, haven’t stepped on a single person to get here and have enjoyed the fact that yes, it can be done this way. Maybe it’s the economy but it seems that all of the negativity and accusations are getting worse. In my “Pollyanna” way of looking at this I think we should be out there lending fellow producers a hand..not handing them a club or worse yet, using the club on one another. Well, I’m ranting again. I might just be dealing with some wounded professional and personal feelings today.

I understand that there are quite a few people in the Fall Line Farms Co-op www.farm2udirect.com that are looking for me and wondering what has happened. There has been a drop point mixup, that has now been fixed. Also, we had decided to only deliver once a month in an effort to justify the expense in deliveries to five drop points but we are changing that as well. We will be back on the list next week and starting the second week in July, we will be back every week (all five drop points). Sorry I wasn’t there but glad you missed us..we miss you guys too!

Make sure you always check out our website for additions of new products and changes www.breezehillfarm.com. Have a great day and say little prayers that we will not have any more house guest of the reptile variety!