When we first bought our land, we planned to create a wedding venue and a retreat space for creatives and others wanting to get away from the busyness of their lives. However, over the past four and a half years we’ve begun learning the importance of holding loosely to dreams and intentions. We’ve had to step back, take a look and make some adjustments to our plans.
Like every other small, family owned business trying to make a living during a pandemic, this idea has been reinforced. We’re starting to realize we need to make some changes to what we’re doing in order to be sustainable. Some areas of our business are very profitable. Others are either making just enough to pay for themselves or are a drain.
The retreat portion is doing quite well and is in fact paying for other parts of the business. We’re getting great feedback on what people love about glamping on our property and suggestions on things we might want to add to the experience.
While we’re committed to providing the farm, table and venue experiences as well, we’re realizing we may need to adapt the way we’re doing them to make them cost-effective. Not only that; we also have to weigh the value of promoting our farm even when an activity might not generate a great deal of income. For example, on the second Saturday of every month, I sell our produce or my fresh ground wheat rolls. I’m not raking in a lot of money, but I AM connecting with people and interacting with our community. Besides that, it feeds my soul to be able to share with others what we’re doing on our property.
Our private farm tours are one of those activities that make a significant contribution. Houston and/or I spend an hour to an hour and a half with a family or a small group of friends, sharing with them about our peach orchard, hydroponic operation and various livestock. We don’t collect a lot of money doing these tours, but the small fee does cover most of our feed costs for the animals. Also people will often bring carrots and apples for treats. It’s great for the donkeys and pigs, and also ensures an up close and personal visit for the guests. Houston especially loves this time of letting children help feed the pigs and sharing with others what he’s learned about our heritage breeds and restorative farming.
Over the coming months we’ll continue to look at areas of our business and decide where we need to make slight adjustments or maybe even big changes. In addition to looking at profitability, we’ll also consider what brings us joy. And we’ll continue to identify our personal strengths and how we can leverage those in a way that helps our farm succeed.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the February 26, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.