Chris walked in wearing a white cotton t-shirt with “Daddy, est. 2017” written in large script font across the front. Holding to his hand, his 6-year-old daughter walked alongside toward the aroma of dried lavender and fresh produce. Not many steps ahead, his wife, Courtney, held the hand of their youngest. The hustle and bustle of the farm store is growing ever more loved by the Popsons. The Farm on Central has lent a hand in helping their growing family find new and exciting ways to build a healthier world they can appreciate. A fresh family-sized bag of lettuce is among today’s shopping list items. Locally harvested honey, a slab of pastured beef raised on a neighboring farm, or a product from the Farmstead Wellness line may also find its way into their basket. After briefly catching up on a few happenings since their visit last week, they promenade the paths between fields and greenhouses to witness what new growth may have taken place.
This ground grows something beautiful for the Popsons. It grows new home-cooked traditions in their charming kitchen. It grows the splendid smell of homemade sourdough, which was only a dream before attending Savannah’s Farmhouse Kitchen sourdough class. It grows happy moments gathered around the family dinner table after a long day of hard work. It grows full tummies before bedtime tuck-ins. Best of all, the growth happening at the Farm on Central is budding abundant love within their own home. The kind of love that endures through the dry times and lives bountifully in spite of the weeds.
This is why we exist. Serving families in our community like the Popsons is important to us. Our farm started with a simple idea: local, clean, and organically grown food should be easily accessible. We believe strawberries should be irresistibly flavorful, carrots should be sweet and crunchy, and our bread should be so good that it disappears from your counter in minutes.
Thanks to your incredible support, we have come a long way. We began with a 10×10 tent in our yard, transitioned to a transit bus, and now have an on-farm retail shop. In the early days, we could only offer eight items for sale. Now, our store boasts over 150 products, ranging from our crunchy salad mix to locally raised pastured beef, pickles, honey, and so much more. We have accomplished all this while paying our employees well above industry average. Because of you, we have created a place of respite from the busy world, a place of community, the first job for multiple community youth, and a home of regenerative farming practice.
Contributing to the local food economy is also essential to who we are (to learn more about our values and how we do business, go here). We now source from nearly 20 local farms and artisans and have already injected significant money into the local food economy this year. Our shop truly lives up to its name, the Central Food Hub, bringing together local food and customers from all over the region.
With growth comes new challenges and opportunities. We are excited to enter our next phase in better serving you and our community, and here are the three key areas we are focusing on:
Loving our existing product offerings like dressings, prepped veggies, pesto, and salsa, you have been asking for more prepared products, and we aim to please. Adding a dedicated certified kitchen to our farm will enable us to offer you new and innovative products and services. Soups, veggie trays, dipping oils, and various baked goods, including sourdough bread, granola, cookies, and cinnamon rolls will soon be within our walls. We will also cater to gluten-free preferences! We have already begun the process of buying equipment, including a gigantic oven and a 6-burner stove. In addition to the new food options we will be able to offer, we also look forward to expanding our highly popular cooking and baking classes. Whether you look forward to making new fond memories on a girls’ farm day out or want to surprise your wife by picking up a farm-fresh “grab-and-go” dinner prepared for you just to cook and serve, our certified teaching kitchen and bakery will be a valuable addition.
While this may not be the most glamorous part of our expansion, it’s crucial for our operational efficiency. For the past six months, we have been juggling multiple tasks in cramped spaces. Our expansion plans will provide each team with dedicated areas, streamlining our workflows and ultimately allowing for faster service and higher-quality products.
For different expansion campaigns, we have used a variety of financing options such as the USDA Beginning Farmer loan, Crowdfunding through Steward, and even self-funding the farm store expansion earlier this spring.
How much is needed for this growth?
I am glad you asked! $80,000 is required to grow your community farm into this beautiful expansion stage. Here are some of the ways you can become involved.
A $300 donation will be honored with a Plaque of your name on our new children’s silo/grain bin/giant sandbox and farm fun zone equipment.
A $3,000 donation will be honored with a Free Strawberries for Life Certificate (valid for a single individual. ID is required.)
A $5,000 donation will be honored with naming rights of the new community pergola area.
Love our farm and shop our store frequently? Purchase store gift cards and get 10% additional back! For example, buy a $200 gift card and receive an additional $20 gift card in return.
Note: Cash purchase only. Must spread usage of $1000 or more over 12 months minimum.
Are you interested in other ways to help the farm?
Every little bit helps, and here are a few additional ways you can help us hit our growth goals.
In 2023 alone, we’ve spent over $6,000 in credit card fees. That’s two new refrigeration units or the farm’s electric bill for a year.
Having the consistency of regular customers each week is crucial for us in planning the farm’s production.
Sure, we can advertise all we want, but there’s nothing like word of mouth or bringing one of your friends here and showing them your favorite farmers.
Savannah will be adding a few sourdough classes, and hosting one in your house is a great way to introduce your friends to the farm while enjoying an exciting learning experience together (until we get the teaching kitchen fully functional).
Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Clubs, etc. We are excited about sharing our farm with all of them and are more than happy to have Michael come and do a presentation about the farm and local food.
Here’s a list of things on our radar as we expand – while we will budget for them in the future, we want to share our passion for what else is ahead.
As we expand deliveries, we are looking for a reliable vehicle, either a van or a sprinter.
Finding affordable housing for our team in the area is a challenge. We would be interested in an off-market deal if you know anyone looking to sell in the local area.
If you’ve seen the latest pictures, you know that we’re maxing out the farm capacity! The additional acreage that we just leased will allow more strawberries, a better rotation, and new crops! Interested in organic stewardship of your land? Reach Out!
We are thrilled to have your support on this grand adventure we share. We look forward to serving you, your family, and our community.
Thank you for being a continued partner in our journey ahead.
Note: The Central Food Hub is a 508C1a non-profit organization.