I remember the night we decided to open our farm up for agritourism (this is the part in the superhero movies where the audience learns of how the hero came to be 'super'; imagine a faded out image of this conversation with my voice narrating as a voice-over) So, The Husband had decided to do the strawberry gig and he went to his first NC Strawberry Association conference (check out their webiste for some good information, recipes, and farm listings if you live too far to come to ours http://www.ncstrawberry.org/). He came back choc full of information that I paid no attention to whatsoever. Then he was talking about how a lot of these growers also do corn mazes in the fall. He seemed excited about the idea so I said to him, well, if we're able to buy your grandma's farm, why don't we do a corn maze. He looked at me like he couldn't believe the words that had just come out of my mouth. I asked him if he thought that was stupid and he said he just never thought I'd want to do it. From this conversation, Two Mule Farms was born.
One thing I figured out quickly was saying you want to run an agritourism farm and actually running it are two different things. I learned from last fall was if it is going to go wrong it will. We had bonfires that wouldn't light, straw that got wet, tractor batteries that died (this was a result of me learning how to drive one, yeah, that worked out well), school busses that ended up in the ditch, you name it, it went wrong. Another thing I learned was that someone's gotta be the boss, and that someone is me. I'm not a naturally bossy person, not a natural leader, so this is a continuing struggle for me personally, but sometimes you just have to put your big girl panties on and take over. The most important thing I learned last fall was that I have some really incredible family and friends who stepped in when we needed it most, either helping us bodily on the farm, watching The Boy, or just giving us great advice.
So, now we're coming into a new season. We'll have berries in about a week (YIKES!!!) and I'm freaking out. I have supplies to get, things to order, prices to work out (yes, my name is Emily and I am a procrastinator. Procrastination is the root of all evil, I'm tellin' you). We're trying to get the farm ready; we're ditching water, moved the stand for better parking, filling in holes and expanding the driveway so no more busses will end up in the ditch. I'm trying to implement the things I've learned. I’m trying not to stress, everything that can go wrong will. Once I accept it and move on I can take it as it comes (yeah, still working on this one). I’m trying to be the boss (another one easier said than done). I have hired some great girls to work in the stand and in the field to free me up so I can make sure everyone has what they need. Also, I can't forget my other job as errand runner extraordinaire. Plus, we're going to be getting ice cream from Maple View Farms so I'll have to be running back and forth from Raleigh (hopefully a lot!). Hopefully this will let me be free to handle those inevitable problems as they come up.
One thing about this quest I have embarked on that has genuinely surprised me is how much fun it is. I really like having people come out on the farm and have fun. Nothing makes me happier than seeing little kids running around playing like I used to do when I was younger. Of course I want to make money doing this, I wouldn't be doing it otherwise. Honestly though, I get so much more from just having people come out and have fun that that becomes a secondary purpose. I feel more like I'm hosting a big party at the farm rather than working and that's what I love about it. When people come, I want them to feel like they're coming to some relative's house for a reunion (just without the covered dish, that one great aunt that pinches your cheek, and the cousin Eddie type, 'cause you know everyone's got one of them stashed away on the family tree that you're hoping no one will realize you're related too). So please consider this your formal invitation to come hang out with us. I'm going to be having events here on the weekends, doing some fundraising for cancer research, treasure hunts for mothers day, military appreication. Come and get a cup of ice cream and hang out in the shade in the picnic area or bring your kids to pick some berries and maybe find a nice surprise for yourself on mothers day weekend. Or, if nothing else, just come laugh at the latest screw up, there's bound to be a lot of them. We'd love to have you out, no matter the reason!