First of all, we know that this has been an incredibly challenging year for so many people, communities, businesses, and everything in between. We hope that things look up in 2022 and that there is less sickness, less suffering, and so forth.
As we come to end of 2021, we wanted to share some quick highlights of the past year for us as Over the Moon!
Our First Year of Pastured Turkey
- If you follow us on social media you might have seen the many Instagram stories and posts featuring this years turkeys. We raised 40 for our first go of it and had an incredibly positive experience. We LOVED watching them forage and grow and we're already counting down the days until next year.
- This was our second year partnering with Local Harvest CSA and Buffalo Ridge Orchard to offer our Flower CSA in conjunction with their vegetable share. It was also our first year partnering with Rainbow Roots Farm to offer a Flower Add-On. It's been an awesome experience working with other farmers to mutually increase of offerings to a growing customer base.
Mentorship Program with Dawnbreaker Farm
- 2021 was the year of mentorship! Through the organization FACT we participated in their humane farming mentorship program where we were paired with a diversified livestock farmer to help us with our marketing, business planning, and so much more. This experience has been nothing short of life changing and has helped us come up with ways to grow our business and serve our community in ways that we feel so excited about. Having a mentor to asks questions both production & business related has also made diving into new enterprises such as turkeys and broiler chickens so much more obtainable and we think really increased our success rate.
The Beginning of the Meat CSA
- The CSA (community supported agriculture) is typically seen with vegetables, but more and more you see different types of CSA's being offered-- like our flowers, herbs, cheese+dairy, meat, and more. As the summer progressed and we realized the diversity of meat we would have to offer come September, we decided that marketing a Meat CSA was feasible and a prospect that really excited us both. Additionally, Dawnbreaker Farm (the mentor mentioned above) runs a successful Meat CSA and was able to talk us through some of the logistics for getting started. We're now in the fifth month of adding a Meat CSA to our farm offerings and we are never looking back! It's so awesome delivering a monthly box full of nutrient dense, hearty food right to people's door.
Building a Greenhouse for Seed Starting
- This is a project that Shae really gets all the credit for! Having a greenhouse to start seeds in the spring has been a really crucial piece of infrastructure that we haven't had. After talking to other farmers and watching tons of YouTube videos, Shae decided that she would bend the hoops and build the structure herself! It ended up taking a couple more months than expected, but on a beautiful warm, sunny October day we finished up and are ready to put it to good use this spring!
Putting up a Pack Shed with the Iowa Valley RC&D
- The year of construction projects is the other way to describe 2021. Through our participation in the Iowa Valley RC&D's Clean Start Program, we were able to build a packaged that could be used for flowers and produce. The structure also houses our walk-in cooler and has been a huge asset to our growing farm business.
Diving into Broiler Chickens
- Shae has been interested in trying out broiler (meat) chickens since moving back to the family farm six years4 ago. This year felt like the right year to try it out for a whole slew of reasons. The first being that we knew it would make an awesome addition to a Meat CSA and we knew that we were well supported through our mentorship program with Dawnbreaker Farm. We ended up raising a couple hundred and absolutely loved it! We learned so much about best practices, feed, rotating them on raise, building chicken tractors, etc.
Becoming Licensed to Sell Cuts of Meats
- Since starting Over the Moon in 2019, we knew that we wanted to sell cuts of meat and that it would be a process to do so. This year we were able to start putting some of the puzzle pieces together and begin marketing cuts of pork, beef, and chicken.
Marketing the Beef Produced on Our Family Farm
- After waiting two years for inspected processing dates, 2021 was also the year of beef! We started talking about marketing the beef produced here on the family farm way back at the end of 2019, but between the pandemic and limited processing capacity, it's been a slow go of it. This October though, our processing dates came and it was time!
The past year has been really busy, pretty stressful, but ultimately so good to us. We feel incredibly lucky and are really looking forward to seeing what 2022 has in store for Over the Moon.