Almost two years to the day from when I first purchased the original dairy equipment from a retiring goat farmer The Farmstead is officially a Grade A Goat Dairy. It feels like a lifetime ago that I first uttered the dream of dairy. And, in a lot of ways, it was. Gizmo was just six months old, I was married to a different man, and the farm was A LOT different. It was, for lack of a better phrase, hanging by a thread.
After my divorce everyone wanted me to sell the farm. To move on. To start a new life that didn't involve juggling a full time job, a young child, and the responsibilities of a farm. And then of course, no one thought I should keep trying to license the dairy.
No one that is, except my mother. She got it. Even when I called her in tears, exhausted (on multiple occasions), ready to give up, she supported me. She reminded me why I wanted this place, why I fought for it, and why I should keep fighting for it. My mother understood what sometimes even I didn't. This farm is part of me. This farm, from the first time that I set foot on it's soil, has awakened a piece of my soul that I didn't know was sleeping. Everyone who wanted me to sell the farm knew that I was struggling and they saw selling the farm as an opportunity to lighten my load. But the thing is, it wouldn't have lightened my load. It would have killed a part of me.
So I bought the farm from my ex husband. And then one day, I met Matthew. And almost overnight the farm began to transform. The stalled dream of the dairy finally had momentum again. I wasn't alone anymore.
For the past year Matthew and I have been working to finish what has become both of our dreams.
Which we did. Not only did we finish our dairy but we welcomed a beautiful little boy into the world.
The Farmstead Creamery is operational. Banzai turned two weeks old and the next day we passed our inspections and got our dairy license. And then, four days later, we sold cheese at our first Farmer's Market.
Of course, we didn't do it alone. My mother has been with this dream every step of the way. There is no way this dairy would exist without her. After Banzai was born she came up to help watch babies, cook meals (no really, our freezer now has 6 weeks worth of food in it), and make things beautiful (this is a separate post, I can't wait to share with you the two spaces she has transformed on our farm).
And then, through a twist of fate Matthew's brother ended up spending almost two weeks with us at the farm after Banzai's birth. Having another strong, capable human being around meant that we had help not just around the farm but also training the girls to the milk stand (it's harder than it looks).
I would be lying if I said it's been easy. It hasn't been. But most things worth fighting for aren't easy. There's a quote from A League of Their Own that has always stuck with me:
It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.
We're tired. But you know what. We have two kids under the age of three. Gizmo is on a nap strike and taught herself how to crawl out of her crib this week and Banzai is a newborn. We'd be tired even if we didn't have a farm (and now a dairy). The difference is, when we're awake we're doing something we love. I mean, who doesn't want to wake up and nurse baby goats in the middle of the night? (I'm nursing Banzai and taking the picture).
Going to work now means waking up and milking our girls, and then turning their milk into incredible cheese. Cheese that we couldn't be more proud of.
And then, the best part, I get to work with a man I love, a man I respect and admire, and a man who, literally, made all my dreams come true.
My cup runneth over.
- West Olympia Farmer's Market: T
- Tumwater Farmer's Market: Wednesdays, from 10 AM to 2 PM