|I know. This picture looks only marginally different than the first one we shared way back in July. Since that time, we’ve had electrical work done, concrete poured, finished the interior, and learned way more about city codes than we ever wanted to know. The last piece is moving in fixtures and finishing up signage.|
The good news is – it’s almost time to open! We should be stocked and ready to sell by Thursday, September 8, or as we call it here in Winfield, LAND RUSH DAY (Walnut Valley Festival fans will get this …)If you catch us there in the meantime, feel free to pop in and check things out!
Starting out, we will have everything we have for sale at farmers markets (seasonal produce, jams and jellies, salsa, and sweet hot sauce), plus our beeswax lip and hand balms, house plants, zinnia bouquets, NEW beeswax reusable food wrap cloths, local honey, locally made soap from The Soap Box, bundles of firewood, Werner Creek Farm t-shirts, and a small collection of pumpkins and gourds from our farm. Our hens should start laying eggs any day (come on girls!), so we will have farm fresh eggs very soon.
Now … the not so good news. Our dedicated farmers market customers (and boy, are they dedicated, and boy, do we love them!) know that all produce growers have had a seat on the struggle bus this year. When you get a summer THIS hot and THIS dry, produce just quits. Gage has done an amazing job this year of coaxing produce along so that we have had something to share. But it has not been nearly the yield we should have had, or expected.
I’m not sharing this for pity – we’re making do, and we know we are a LOT better off than most farmers simply because our crop fields are small enough we can irrigate – but I do share it so our customers will understand why our small store isn’t overflowing with produce right now.
But I’ve heard it said that there is no one more optimistic than a farmer. You know the whole, “Build it and they will come,” mantra? … we’re going with a “Build it and they (veggies) will grow.”
We have the store ready. We don’t yet have the produce we had hoped to have. But it will come.
Speaking of what’s coming next, we have these beautiful starts all ready to go in the ground this weekend: Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. A few weeks ago, we planted spinach, radishes, more lettuce and broccoli that is just starting to pop after last week’s rain.
We have been working this summer to stock up on all of our value added products – jams, jellies, and sauces – to be ready to open the store. A note about our value-added products – everything we make is in small batches, which means products are not identical. When we make a batch of blackberry jalapeno one month, the peppers might not be as hot as the next time, so there is slight variation in our products. Just a fun little fact about small-batch products as opposed to commercially produced items.
For example, below is a jar with apple grape jelly from two different batches. One batch had much more vibrant grape juice resulting in a much darker color. The recipe was exactly the same!
That’s all for now! Ike says, “Come see us soon at the Farm Store!” We continue to be at the Walnut Valley Farmers Market every Saturday morning from 7:30-11:00 and the Ark City Farm and Art Market on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 6:30 pm.
From Sarah at Werner Creek Farm