After careful consideration over the past few weeks, Dan and I have made the difficult decision to delay the start of our farm stand season. We will not be open Memorial Day weekend as is our tradition. We are tentatively looking at July 4th for our opening day but that is subject to change.
We love our farm family and are grateful for all your support over the years. We love being able to connect you with the people and place where your food is raised but unfortunately, in the current situation that personal connection is also a risk. Many of our farm friends come from all over, and many of you have health issues that make you value organic food, or are older and appreciate food that tastes the way it did years ago. The farm stand is a small space, the area where you can feed the birds is limited as well, and there is simply not enough room to practice social distancing properly. The health and safety of our customers and community are incredibly important to us. We also ask you to remember this is our home- we have welcomed you to the very place we live to feed the birds, to sit on our porch and pet the kittens, to enjoy the space where we live and work every day. We simply aren't comfortable granting the public access to our personal space at this time, and understand that it will be nearly impossible to welcome you to the farm stand while asking you to stay away from the birds and animals.
April had more snow than sun, so vegetables will be behind a little this year. This was another factor that made the decision to delay opening the right one. We may do more self-serve items (like rhubarb) in the meantime, the egg cooler has always worked well and we know our farm friends will stop by and support us if we have food available for purchase.
I know some of you will be worried about us personally, about the animals and the future of the farm. Don't be. For years we have diversified- offering both veggies and meats, selling on Etsy, opening our own online store, hatching chicks for sale and more. Our online sales have been absolutely incredible lately- we had more online sales in the month of April 2020 than we did during all of 2017. Chicks are selling so fast we are looking into adding a third incubator to meet demand. Despite the delay in the farm stand season, we are doing well, and the animals are fed and happy as they always are.
We are looking at this time to be an opportunity rather than a disaster. We are considering experimenting with online ordering for curbside pickup at some point. The original goal setting up The Forge at Pleasant Valley was to be able to run our site exactly as we wanted and eliminate the middleman that comes with selling on a platform like Etsy. However, the fact that we have an online store I have built and I run also means I can sell anything I want, including plants and food for local pickup.
I know you will miss being able to visit and feed the animals. I have an idea rolling around in my head to do a virtual "feed the birds" experience, maybe take you behind the scenes of the farm a little. I've always dreamed of teaching small classes, perhaps now is the time to really consider logistics and if those can be done online rather than in person. There are many possibilities of how we can look different but still connect with our farm family. We're also taking a step back to really examine what works, what doesn't, what is profitable to continue, what isn't, and what projects we truly want to invest our energy into. There is absolutely no guarantee that we'll do things the same way as we have in the past going forward. Instead, we hope to find the right balance of doing what we love without spreading ourselves too thin, while offering you what you have come to love buying from us. The logistics may change but the same care and quality will be put into everything we produce.
We will keep all our farm friends updated as we navigate the next weeks and months. You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram, subscribe to the email newsletter for the farm or the online store (or both!). We thank you for your understanding, hope you and your family are well, and look forward to seeing you later this summer!