How to Be Friends with a Farmer
We’re fortunate to have quite a few amazing friends in our lives that just get it. The day we brought home our dairy equipment and the milking goats our amazing friends showed up at our house with dinner and an able bodied attitude. We’d been on the road for 7 hours and were exhausted. But, having our friends there was invigorating…and so helpful. Not only did they feed us they helped us with that first frenzied, I don’t care what you do with the milk just get it out of the goat, milking. This got me thinking…
All farmers need friends like ours. So, as a primer for anyone else who is considering friending a farmer, allow me to suggest some helpful advice.
1. Bring Food Farmers have access to THE BEST food in the world. On our farm alone we have pastured pork, fresh eggs, grass fed lamb, pastured chicken, sweet goat milk, fresh honey, and lots of berries, fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, more often than not, we lack the time or energy to prepare any of it. On top of this, given the chance to sell a whole hog or keep one for our own freezer we will choose to sell it, every single time. Farms don’t flourish on dreams and rainbows, they need money to stay afloat. Right now the only thing we have an abundance of is milk. Our pork and lamb were all sold to other families, our hives and garden aren’t quite ready for harvesting, and we’re hatching every single egg to sell later as a pullet. We are the cobbler’s kids with no shoes. Except we’re the farmers with no food.
If you want to go visit your farming friend and it’s around mealtime…consider bringing something tasty. And, at the very least, bring beer. Or cupcakes.
2. Don't Dress Up Our friends are great. They show up and almost always ask, what can we do? Of course, we’re also pretty pushy and end up finagling guests into milking chores, feeding pigs, you name it. Most recently, our friend who is also a cardiologist helped with a sheep harvest and gave us an education on how the heart worked while breaking down the animal. That, was pretty cool. If you don’t dress accordingly when visiting a farm it makes it harder for us to ask you to help. We don’t want you to come and work all day but even something as small as collecting eggs or filling waterers while we’re out chatting is a help.
3. Say Something Nice When we look around our farm all we see is unfinished projects. The PILES of crap everywhere, the fence post that needs to be mended, the stall that needs to be mucked...we see WORK. But you’re different! When you come to the farm you have the chance to make us feel proud, like we’re actually accomplishing something! Don’t point out the unfinished stuff, find something, ANYTHING, that looks complete and throw out a compliment. IT’S SO EASY…and it will seriously make our day.
4. Ignore The Dirt My house is a wreck 90% of the time. Of course I want to wash my dishes and fold my laundry…but I also want to save that newborn baby pig that must now live in my bathroom all night. I tell myself that, on my death bed, I will never regret the time I spent doing amazing things instead of cleaning my house. And I really believe that. But, I’m also slightly embarrassed anytime someone comes inside my home and it’s not spotless. So if you could, kindly, ignore the dirt (and the goat placenta that's stuck to the floor…I don’t even know how you get that stuff up).
5. Tell Your Friends About Us Farms are small businesses. Unfortunately, our marketing budgets are usually slim to none. That means we rely on you, our friends, to talk about us, share our story with your friends, and hopefully, spread the word that we’re here and we're growing really good food. As farmers we long to create a sense of community around what we’re doing. You can be part of that! So please, talk about us! (If you don’t mind though, only talk about our farm and leave out any reference to our housekeeping skills…we don’t want to spread any rumors).
Remember this photo from Facebook? What you don't see is the mountain of laundry around the corner just waiting to be folded.