Berks Best Kept Secrets Tour

We are excited for this tour. It’s been awhile since we’ve been accepted!

The tour runs from October 31-November 16th (but not on Sundays) from 10-5 each day. The tickets are $10 and include the map, description of all of the sites, coupons for each of the sites and the list of special events for tour goers.

This is a fun way to explore the county finding places that you don’t even realize they exist. The businesses have special deals or events that are only available to people on the tour making your experience that much more special.

We will be doing many special events plus the animals are close to the barn for the winter so you can see them. Our store and freezers are fully stocked and ready for you.

Tickets are available throughout the tour dates. Hope to see you at the farm!

Local-More Thoughts

Last post focused on food security and local sourcing. Continuing and expanding this outside food is today’s topic.

The local economy and community foster stability. One sign I remember seeing is that a dollar spent locally can touch up to 7 businesses before leaving the community. That means a downtown area with open stores, not boarded up windows. Local stores means jobs and social interaction that can strengthen the bond people develop to their town.

The best example of this is Kuzan’s, our local hardware store about 5 minutes from the farm. Not only do they offer filling of propane tanks, shed and carport sales but equipment rental. We have often rented a trailer for about $35/rental. (More economical than buying a trailer and having to maintain and store one!) The men help put it onto the hitch and hookup and check that the lights are working. They also usually have it taken off and put away while returning the trailer and getting the final paperwork. This type of service is extraordinary.

Added to this is the level of help in the other half of the store. It is common to walk in with a bolt or screw, show it to one of the employees and they will take to directly to the correct bin where you can buy a replacement (or two) that are an exact match. No need to buy a prepackaged number that gives you too many or standing looking at a display trying to guess which package matches the item in your hand. Priceless!

This is just one example of the benefits of a smaller, local business.

I have nothing against the big box stores or internet sellers and will use them but my first stop is local most of the time. There is value in having these local resources stay in business because they provide services not available elsewhere. If this makes me old-fashioned, so be it. I hope that you will join me in protecting and supporting local.

Local–Does It Matter?

Last night at Farmhouse Kitchen on Penn Avenue in West Reading this question was part of a lively discussion. Food and nutrition were the main focus (we were in a restaurant, after all) but this could also reflect one’s overall philosophy for consumerism.

Local food has a smaller carbon footprint and usually is fresher, being available for sale nearer the time of harvest. This is in contrast to the example given last night of bananas shipped hundreds of miles then kept in storage for up to 3 months before heading to the grocery store. “How can they be sold for $0.49/pound?” asked one of the participants. Good question without an obvious answer.

Besides learning where your food comes from and how it’s grown, buying local creates opportunity for community. Personal relationships with farmers, suppliers and local retailers strengthen the local economy and foster education. Asking questions about new foods, storage and cooking methods from the local producer or even from other customers standing in line with you at a farmers’ market expands your food world.

In our culture of fast, convenient and immediate, it may seem revolutionary to talk about taking time to find local food and talk to people. Start slow by looking where food comes from in the grocery store or making one trip per month to a local farmers’ market. The old saying of “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” by Lao Tzu applies to lifestyle changes–ones that stick with you. Enjoy the journey and maybe we’ll meet at the farmers’ market.

By the way, my answer to the original question is “Yes.”

Berks Best Kept Secrets Tour–LAST DAY

From 10am to 5pm today is the final stage of this year’s Best Kept Secrets Tour of Berks County. Our visitors have enjoyed the piglets (27 of them!!), feeding the fainting goats, the new baby bunnies and seeing our 5 month old crias (young alpacas).
It promises to be a gorgeous fall day, perfect for exploring the county.
We still have a few tickets left at the farm and you will not be sorry when you “discover” the new places that Melissa has found for tour goers to visit.

Hope to see you today. Wear comfortable shoes and layers to stay warm. (Don’t worry, the store is heated!)

Shearing 2019

The time flies faster and faster the older I get. It’s been a rough winter and we all are looking forward to spring.

On April 6 from 8-2 our alpacas will be getting their annual haircut and all are welcome.

Kettle Corn food truck will be here for breakfast and lunch. Kim’s Bakery will have the goodies and Griesemer’s honey has sweets. Harp Girl’s soap, lotions and essential oils bring wonderful scents.

A recent addition is one of our neighbors–Deerfoot Farm Winery with their local vintages. They’ve been busy winning awards and their wines are great.

Please keep your fingers (and toes, if you think it might help) crossed for decent weather. See you in a couple of weeks–rain or shine.

Countdown to Shearing Day

April 7th is just 2 weeks away and we’re getting ready to welcome you. This date is the first Saturday in April and, as usual, we will be shearing from 8am-2pm. Help with the animals or just come to enjoy the farm.

We have baby goats with more on the way. There will also be baby chicks to see.

Breakfast and lunch foods will be for sale by Eat More Kettle Corn. Kim will be back with her fabulous baked goods. Jim and Chrissy will have local honey and be doing beekeeping demonstrations. Laura’s Garden has pickled veggies, herbed vinegars and different mustards. Debbie will be bringing handmade soaps and some essential oils. A face painter will be available for children of all ages.

We will shear rain or shine (but hope for good weather). Our farm store will have alpaca products and our pasture raised pork for sale so bring a cooler!

See you in a couple of weeks.

New Website & Store Closure

Hopefully you like the new layout. InMotion Hosting has been great to work with to redesign the website. All of the bugs are not worked out yet but I’ll keep moving forward to correct mistakes.

Mother Nature is giving us the major cold shoulder and the driveway is covered in ice in several places. We won’t be open again until Thursday January 11th. Hopefully by then the temperature will have gotten above freezing at some point to clear the ice. (Even with salt, there are places that will not clear!)

Thank you for your support over the years and we look forward to seeing you in 2018. Happy New Year to all.

It’s Cria Season!!

June is baby alpaca time here at the farm and we have 5 so far. There’s another one due any day now also. It’s always fun to watch the herd take care of the crias and see the crias running around and playing together.

We’ll be away until after the 4th of July for our annual fishing trip to Canada but look forward to your visit in July.

Just born yesterday. Really!!!