An Open Letter to Farm Club 2020
Dear Farm Club,
It’s very tempting to be grumpy about the past year. The separation from our loved ones, the turmoil, the anxieties. Many of my friends and family have lost their jobs, been forced to relocate, or gotten sick. This was not the year that any of us had planned.
I was in the midst of lambing season when news of the pandemic starting ramping up. The first school closures were happening and mask mandates were put in place in our small town. But honestly - as stressed as I was when I doom scrolled through my phone - the lambs kept me so busy that it was hard to worry too much. All the ewes and their newborns gave me a singular focus and kept my morale up as I battled through what is always the hardest but most rewarding time of the year for a shepherd.
And every single day, as I went about my work mostly alone - I never felt like it. Our Farm Club community was right there, through email and Instagram, every single day. Through Instagram’s new Close Friends list I vented, brainstormed, and shared recipes with Farm Club members all over the country. Strangers turned into friends. In our first year we had 15 members, and in this past year (our second) we had almost 100.
Some Farm Club members were fellow shepherds, and we compared notes on raising sheep. Many, if not most, other members had never even touched a sheep, just like I hadn’t until several years ago. As the year went on and the Internet felt like less of a friendly place, I came to depend on the Close Friends list as a place to be vulnerable, honest, and sarcastic. I hope that all of you who joined me there had as much fun as I did.
This was a tremendous year for Little Creek. We went from a lamb company to a lamb AND beef company. And then we added ranch goods! I lambed out fifty lambs; more than I ever had before. Justin and I finally got married, ten years after we had first met. (The bulk of the wedding was downsized, but we were able to have a small ceremony in June when covid numbers were near zero in our state.) I went on my first brand photo shoot. We added to our small herd of cattle. I presented a virtual Emmy award! Justin and I turned 30! The animals spent their first summer in a lush new pasture. We shipped thousands of pounds of ranch raised protein to customers’ doors all over the country.
This is not the kind of growth that can happen without support. And every single accomplishment traces back to our Farm Club members, because those pre-orders at the beginning of the year were what ensured the resiliency and the growth of our small business. Considering Little Creek is a company that was started on credit cards and a ranch hand income, I know that we couldn’t have done this without you.
So this is why I can’t look back at 2020, as it draws to a close, with anything but gratitude for all the growth, both business-wise and personally that I experienced.
It’s now almost time to open up Farm Club 2021: our third cycle of this community. (I don’t have a firm date yet as we are waiting for some items to restock, but I am guessing the first week of December.) But before I do, I would love to hear your feedback on the past year of Farm Club. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and ideas for improvement - I will appreciate it very much.
Farm Club 2021 memberships will open in December and remain open through January 31 or until they sell out, whichever happens first.
I have thought hard about the membership options this year, and they will look slightly different from last year, to reflect the changes we’ve made.
Lamb memberships will be much the same; members will be able to pre-order a spring box, a fall box, or both. We will have two sizes of lamb boxes: a sampler and a “showstopper” box designed for those spring and fall celebrations. Our lamb sold out very fast this past year and we highly encourage pre-ordering lamb memberships.
For the first time we will be offering a beef membership; a dry aged beef subscription box in two sizes! These beef boxes have a fantastic array of cuts and come with our new spice rubs. Even better: we will be filling the first month’s subscription boxes with super-premium dry aged Wagyu beef, for no extra cost! Farm Club members get first shot at all beef cuts, and can add extras to their boxes without paying for more shipping.
We will also offer a digital membership to last year, priced at the same amount of a bale of hay!
And finally, our last membership option (we think) will be a brand new Farm Club Self Care box comprised of our ranch goods, for those who don’t prefer to order meat but love the non-perishables. It will be a seasonal subscription box featuring our most popular self care items from our ever-growing line (candles, soaps, balms & more).
All membership options come with free shipping and access to the Close Friends list on Instagram. Plus, get first shot at all upcoming restocks via our Farm Club e-mail list, just like you did this year. And of course, we like to pepper in discounts throughout the year as well.
We will also continue the tradition of Farm Club members naming our female ewe lambs. This year was tricky because we only had 10 ewe lambs born, but we are expecting a bunch more this year.
In the past we have offered an open invite to the farm to all Farm Club members, but with the pandemic underway we are sadly suspending that perk. But I am thinking of some ideas to take its place.
The last news, which may be disappointing to some, is that we won’t be offering sheepskin pre-orders as part of Farm Club. Partly because I still have some sheepskins to fulfill, but mainly because they are so unpredictable. There are many reasons a sheepskin doesn’t make the cut (holes from the butcher, wool slip, shedding their top coat, failure to cure properly) and with all those factors in play, I prefer not counting eggs before they hatch so to speak. But Farm Club members will still get first shot at all upcoming sheepskins, and we are working towards a December restock.
Now that the logistics are taken care of, more than anything, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting Little Creek and for being a part of my life for the past year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: each of you laid the foundation for a successful 2020 for Little Creek, and especially in a time when so many small businesses has been forced to close, I am more grateful than ever.