In the summer of 2013, we sold our business in Atlanta, GA and moved to the Athens, GA area. Mainly, it was for our son who was starting high school in Oconee County. But, we also wanted OUT of the city onto some land. We did this without knowing what our next business was going to be. We thought about several options for future businesses. Should we start a coffee shop in Athens, a college town, or open a Subway, or what?
"Well, we bought a farm! Ok, so it wasn't a farm to begin with..."
Have you seen the movie with Matt Damon called We Bought a Zoo? Well...we bought a farm! Ok, so it wasn't a farm to begin with, but we had some ideas. The main one, the CRAZY one, was, let's make a living by farming!! My husband had a fairly decent green thumb and we were an animal loving family, so, hey, how hard could it be??
We began our homestead, of course, with chickens. Then we began building a large garden that we had to water by hauling buckets by hand. Thankfully, my husband is pretty handy and was able to convert an old concrete well house into a walk in cooler. We began filling it with our garden produce and it filled up pretty quickly. After setting up a Facebook page for our farm, we opened a loose CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and built an email list.
"Next thing you know, we are delivering baskets full of our fresh, garden produce to households all around Athens and Atlanta."
Then we focused on raising two hogs on our land and filled our freezer with ham and pork and LOVED IT!! The following year, we raised five hogs and pre-sold them to customers. The next year we increased to seven hogs and took two of these hogs to USDA certified processing. This allowed us to resell to the public. This will be our fourth year raising hogs and it keeps growing.
"...filled our freezer with ham and pork and LOVED IT!!"
We also raise meat birds and process them on our farm for our family and to sell. We have LOTS of eggs to sell from our 65-ish free ranging ladies. We have a handful of dairy goats and are crossing our fingers that next spring will be our first productive one with them. We currently grow on almost an acre of land, including in a high tunnel with raised beds. We've expanded our fruit production with blackberries and blueberries and many more fruit trees.
Next, we would like to raise our own steer for meat and maybe have a dairy cow. We still have lots of ideas to toss around. For instance, should we continue with a CSA? Or build a farm stand to sell from on our property? Or paint an old ice cream truck green and cruise the local neighborhoods passing out cucumber slices and asparagus while blasting Veggie Tales songs? Who knows?
"But for now, I have a hen and her 11 chicks that need moving into their new maternity ward."
What's your homestead story? Please share it with us! We love to hear from you!
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