2019 was challenging in many ways but we’ve come a long way since we first opened our doors in May, 2017. We are not quite breaking even, but we are counting on you, our customers and friends, to push us over the top in 2020.
Sales Improved in 2019
1) Breakfast Sandwiches – (have you tried the Widowmaker yet?)
2) Head & Heal CBD products3) Ice Cream4) Jam, Fruit Butters and Chutneys (we sold ~450 jars!)
We are transitioning our apple orchard to organic We just finished our first year of organic production – no-synthetic pesticides. Yes, it’s more work but we believe it will pay off long-term for our health and for yours. The result was great – we had a crop of nice looking apples.
Local Vendor Relationships; We
expanded our partnerships with local businesses this year. We are
proud to share products, customers and mutual support with both
Schenectady Distillery and Schenectady Trading Company. We’re also
offering honey from Mike Nally (Glenville), Stephen Wilson (Altamont)
and the DeBritas (Rotterdam), fresh-roasted Peruvian coffee from Sam
Nally, and Maple Syrup products from Riverside Maple. Our CBD products
from Head & Heal in Cortland, NY are organic high quality products that are laboratory tested for strength and purity.
Our new mural was dedicated in October; painted by the Living Resources Arts Program; we worked with the young adults and staff from the Living Resources Art program to create an awesome mural for the side of our store. This beautiful mural highlights the natural features, bike paths, parks, and businesses throughout this part of Schenectady County. Living Resources is a local non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals challenged by disabilities.
New York Grown & Certified; our apple cider and apple cider vinegar are certified by New York State; The New York State Grown & Certified seal indicates that our farm & its products have been inspected for safe food handling and environmental stewardship. The label lets you know your food was grown right, right here in New York State. For more information visit their website; https://certified.ny.gov/about
Local Crafters / Consignment; In 2019 we expanded our shelves to include work by local crafters; unique one-of-a-kind items like the beautiful tie-dye, necklaces and paintings by Kristie, wine bags & wall art by Joline, Stockings by Bonnie, cards and coasters from Pat, and hand-sewn cozies by Yvonne. Another best seller is Edna’s hand crocheted stuffed animals – (which, upon her request we are donating half of the proceeds to Living Resources Art Program in 2020). We had some beautiful fall wreathes and swags from a local crafter, and in late November Ginny started working at the store. She made some beautiful fresh evergreen wreaths and swags for us. We continued to offer license plate signs, hand-painted hummingbird feeders and hand-poured soy candles of many varieties.
Farm & Apple Orchard;
Apples – We now have over 200 trees in our orchard. When we bought the orchard in 2016 it had a dozen varieties of overgrown – mostly standard size – trees. We spend our winters pruning and the trees are back under control.
We have Burgundy, Empire, Northern Spy, Rhode Island Greening, Idared, Jonamac, Macintosh, Cortland, Macoun, Baldwin, Golden Delicious & Red Delicious. In 2017 we planted over 30 new kinds of smaller cider apples and are looking forward to the first harvest in 2020.
Animals – Our several dozen (yes – we’ve lost count) hens have done a great job laying eggs for you this year and are now taking a well deserved break. We also have a growing flock of Katahdin sheep – starting with Laverne and Shirley, who each gave birth to twins early this Spring (Bert & Ernie and Bonnie & Clyde). We purchased a ram (named “Mr. Ram”) in late Fall and we will hopefully have more lambs again in early 2020.
We became a Certified Bike-Friendly business; Since we are directly across from the Rotterdam Kiwanis park and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail a lot of cyclists find their way to our store. To better serve them we joined the PTNY’s Bike Friendly business. We installed a bike rack in the Spring and we make sure to stock plenty of drinks and cyclist friendly snacks. The folks at Bike Friendly New York work to raise the level of service and create a more welcoming environment for cyclists on New York’s trails and cycling routes, as well as encouraging local cycling-related economic development. You can learn more about PTNY’s work to enhance the State’s park and trail system, as well as the organization’s role in promoting the Canalway Trail as a community resource and tourism destination through a partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation at www.ptny.org.
Plans for 2020; We got a new CNC router this December to make carved signs to go along with our license plate signs. We are working to put up a 1500 sq ft greenhouse to grow produce for us and the store. Over the winter we also plan to replace some of our old and inefficient refrigeration to lower our energy footprint. Although we have a 5KW solar array we still have a ways to go to get our energy bill down and get off the demand meter that National Grid has bestowed on us. In 2019 we got two of our own acidified foods approved for production & sale; Dilly Beans and Candied Jalapenos – and for 2020 we plan to get a low-sugar jam approved for sale (Summer Berry and Watermelon).
And so, in summary; We will continue to stir, bake, mix, and create for you. We are proud of our little store, and blessed to be here in this community. Your support and encouragement has kept us going, and we look forward to seeing you when we re-open on March 30th. We, along with Dawn, Lucas & Ginny (and perhaps more!) look forward to serving you in 2020.
Louise & Jeff