Bloom Where You're Planted Farm

  (Avoca, Nebraska)
A family-owned educational farm & pumpkin patch near Avoca, Nebraska
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Winter Downtime

A pretty snow is falling this afternoon and we're looking to get 2-4 inches out of this latest bit of winter weather.  We try to make good use of this down time, when it is impossible to get outside and start the physical preparations for our 2011 Pumpkin Festival -- planting, weeding, building, cleaning... 

Now is the time for aspiring, planning, and promoting.  Last week I updated our listings on a few websites and registered for a couple new promotional tools including Google Places.  I don't know how much of a difference these types of things make to our visibility, but I figure the more places you pop up on the Internet, the better, right? 

I really should be working on filing our 2010 sales tax, but instead I spent the day on the computer again, researching trade organizations and agritourism-related seminars.  We're always looking for ways to expand our horizons, learn from others, and be inspired.  We're thinking about going to St. Louis in March to the Halloween, Costume & Party show and Halloween and Attractions show.  We don't typically do a lot of "Halloween-y" activities but instead focus more on the "farm-y"/agricultural side of the fall season.  But, this might shake us up a little and maybe some good ideas will fall out! 

Well, I'll head back to those sales tax receipts now...  Until next time, stay warm!

 
 

Plans and Inspirations

We are always looking for new ideas and inspirations about how we can improve this business.  This past weekend we took a road-trip to Osceola, Iowa, to the Harvest Barn Marketplace.  I'm not sure how I first heard about them, but they do have a listing on this site:  http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M19115.  I've been receiving Amy's emails for awhile and finally saw an opportunity to visit on Saturday.

It took about three hours to get there.  I love driving through the rolling hills of western Iowa, and Rocket enjoyed riding along with Terry and I.  

 

The store is located inside this neat, renovated barn.  They specialize in homemade fudge (it was YUMMY!), hand-poured candles, meats raised on their family farm, and ice cream from a nearby creamery (it was YUMMY too--this was not a low-calorie trip!) 

We enjoyed our visit and left with a full shopping bag.  On the way home we talked some ideas that inspired us and goals for our own store.  We decided we needed to brighten up a few areas with more lighting and fresh paint.  We'd also like to make some of our own product.  Our new concession kitchen will allow us to try some new food items -- I'm thinking homemade pumpkin pie, gourmet dipped pretzels, and apple & pumpkin crisp mix made from my Grandma Brandt's recipe.

We continue to learn, grow, and be inspired, and look forward to sharing the results with our customers soon.  Sounds like a lot of work -- I'd better get busy!

 
 

First "To-Do" List of the Year!

Yesterday I put together my first farm to-do list of the year.  There are still almost seven months until pumpkin patch time, but since Terry and I both have "real" jobs off the farm, we need to be ready to get to work at the first sign of spring.  Ideally we want to get as much done as we can before the heat and humidity of summer sets in.  However, that doesn't usually happen and we end up doing our hardest work in sweltering July and August.  Still, every new year is a new opportunity and we pledge "This year it will be different!"  Maybe this is the year...

Last year it was as bad as it could ever be (we hope).  We had a century old one-room schoolhouse moved here in mid-April.  We (and I use this term loosely, as Terry did over 80% of the work!) poured cement, built a foundation, tore off old siding, repaired and painted the original siding, put on a new roof, repaired and restored the windows and interior, built a new bathroom, installed four new doors, built two porches, and landscaped around the building.  All this in addition to the work of planting, weeding and harvesting the pumpkins and the other pre-opening day tasks nearly did us in.

This year's list is less ambitious.  Besides for the planting and care of the pumpkins it includes painting some outbuildings, doing more work on the schoolhouse including building a bell tower and a concession kitchen, and building a wagon for the hayrack rides we hope to add this season.  There's still plenty to do, and I'm sure the list will be added to as time goes on, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

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