By Brooke Lucy
We almost missed two months of posting our newsletter. Jeeeeeez…. I don’t know if we have ever missed a month in the last eight years. Alas, life has caught up with us, no excuses, here are some of the reasons why…
I attended two food shows in the last two months, The Crown Pacific Northwest Food Show and the KeHE Holiday Food show. Attending food shows is a great way for me to meet customers, share our product with others, and hand out samples while making key connections. The KeHE show was by far the biggest show we have ever done. I traveled to Chicago with my “horse and pony show” and spent 5 days in downtown Chicago at the famous McCormick City Center on Lake Michigan. Attending the show was the easy part (once the booth was all set up)compared to the prep that it took to attend a show of this caliber. We ( our awesome staff and I) spent most of April designing a 10×10 booth and getting all of our stuff in order to ship to Chicago. We could not be attending these shows without a USDA value-added marketing grant that we received last fall. Many thanks to this important USDA program.
Sam has been working 70 + hours per week after an employee got unexpectedly sick in April and had to leave Bluebird. It was extremely unfortunate that this happened the week that planting started. Sam had to buck up and finish the planting while running the granary 40 hours a week. The good side of this situation is that the business owner gets an up close and personal look at the business’s inefficiencies. The bad side….we won’t discuss this here. Needless to say, we have a long laundry list of improvements.
Speaking of improvements we are in the process of doing a feasibility study of moving our granary to a more public location on a 32-acre piece of organic farmland that we purchased in 2017 off of Hwy 20 between Winthrop and Twisp. No, this idea did not come out of Sam’s “couple month’s from hell” but rather a long time vision that we have had of making Bluebird Grain Farms more accessible to the public with the intent of increasing our processing production to meet current demand, opportunities for agritourism, and to showcase our vertically integrated farm system. We have been pitching our financials to banks and other local investment networks in hopes that we will have funding in place to break ground in the spring. We look forward to sharing our vision and dreams as more develops, stay tuned.
One fun experience that Farmer Sam fit in last month was a farm tour hosted by Tilth Farm Alliance and WSU Food System Program. Twenty folks showed up to learn about our organic farming systems. Sam took folks on a tour through our Einkorn and Emmer fields and granary. Many thanks to Tilth Farm Alliance and WSU for networking and organizing folks. We look forward to more tours in the future.
Last but not least, our daughter Larkin graduated from high school! Gulp. This celebratory occasion caught us in bouts of tears and fits of joy. The Methow Valley is a very special place to raise a child and the last 18 years with Larkin has been full of wonderful people, experiences, and magical places that have shaped her life. We are so grateful for our community. This fall she is off to the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon in Eugene (yay for an awesome liberal town to visit in driving distance with good food)…..another reason to increase production.