August 20, 2018

i'm in a situation where I have had to keep my foot elevated for the past few days, and when one is accustomed to spending a lot of time on his feet all day, everyday it affords one a lot of time for reflection and pondering. The reflection has been that of looking back 18 years ago when we transitioned from dairy farming commodity style (milk from our cows went into a cooling tank and picked up by the co-op truck every other day and sent to a processor) to taking the milk from our cows, processing it on the farm into different products and selling them direct to the customer, whom we more affectionately call our co-producers.

That was a really really big step. First of all, I had never made cheese in my life, until that first day in July of 2000 when Pat, the gentleman whom we had purchased our used equipment from, gave me a quick, hands on lesson in making cheese. Secondly, we really did not know what we were doing other than we had a passion for growing and making quality, healthy, safe food and trying to find some people that would like to come buy it. We had no business study no business plan--just raw passion and a dream, well I might want to add a healthy dose of faith to the equation. This procedure probably was not what business schools would recommend, but I digress.

Well, over the years we have actually done pretty well. There have been up and down cycles in sales, we have made changes in product processing, products themselves and the whole arena of pasture management and grazing animals is a huge learning curve. We have been intensely grazing our cows on pastures since 1992--that is 26 years and we still are learning and trying new ideas. I have come to the conclusion one never arrives, it is an ongoing process but it is exciting and fun! That in itself is info for more posts later. 

In the 2016 we started with the Grazecart online marketing program. It has helped immensely in connecting the dots for us, but I know there is much more for us to learn and do. Heavens, Mary and I just got into the world of texting last fall! Which brings me to the point of this post-- we want to interact with our co-producers much, much more. We see a lot of you when deliveries are made or you come into our farm store, but we want to connect with more of you that may have just stopped by our website for a visit. 

It has been 2 years since we started the Grazecart site and now I am finally plugging in the first blog post--hmmmm. You may have heard the phrase "tyranny of the urgent", well there seems to be a lot of tyranny in cows, chickens, processing and delivery that we can't get time to do other very important things like spending time with you through emails and blog posts. I am getting this first one off and going, but there will be more coming in the future from our daughter Kate, who is an integral part of our farm.

As I mentioned in the title 'glancing back', well now we are 'looking to the future'. Kate is the one in the family who is the wordsmith and knows how to put it so you want to read it. She will hopefully be able to take some time off each week to spend writing more blog posts and emails for you, our constituents, about what is happening here on the farm. Maybe some pics and videos of what is happening on the farm, things we are struggling with, things we are excited about, but we also want to know what your needs and interest are as well. So, don't be shy, email us or call us of your needs and concerns so that we can better serve you!

Oh and that foot elevated thing I mentioned at the beginning, my foot and a long nail met up last week but that might be a story for another time.



Alan & Mary Yegerlehner
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