This week has been a great week for me. I was starting to get into this winter slump and blah mood. January is always an extremely slow time of year. This year January just seemed extra slow. While sitting here trying to figure out what is the best way to go with the business, planning for the busy season and stressing about the here and now I was getting hard on myself and a little down.
But this week I had a doctors appointment in Binghamton and Eric Sr being the loving husband he is watched this kids so that when I was done with my doctors appointment I could go to lunch with my mom. Something that I haven't done in a LONG time. Just my mom and I. It was awesome, nostalgic, relaxing and stress relieving all at the same time.
As I sat at her work waiting for her to get done so that we could go to lunch. I talked with an old family friend. As I talked he reminded me of how no one would have ever thought that I would be the way I am. I had always been into sports and went to college for accounting. I also swore I would never live on a farm or in the country. Needless to say I was a country girl trying to get away from my country roots. Here I am now running a farm with my husband and trying to make a living on it. I can, make my own and grown my own food.
As we got further into the conversation and he learned that I loved my "amish life" as my mother calls it and that I would prefer to live farther out in the country than anywhere near a big town or city. He told me I needed to "come out of my shell" and that I would need to leave my "country island that I love so much." What he was saying was all in good advice, just trying to say to me that if we want the business to grow that we need to push outside our boundaries. He is a phenomenal business man, a little too lenient with his employees but nevertheless has proven that he can run a large business in different states and make money doing it. So advice from him I listen too.
I explained that most of what has happened has just kind of "fallen" into our laps and we have rode the wave in with the Fruit butters. There has been a few things that we have actively pushed as far as accounts go. We were generally in the right place at the right time or word of mouth spread the word about our fruit butters.
We have been doing this business for 7 years now and have not been overly successful at anything. Everything seemed to have potential, but it never actually made it there. No matter how hard we pushed we got discouraged and tried to find something else that would make us profitable. We continuously were struggling and could not stay above the line.
Up until now.
As much as we have struggled and as much as family members and people close to us have told us that we shouldn't be doing this we shouldn't be putting ourselves through this we could never seem to prove them wrong.
Well here we are now, with something amazing apparently and not even realizing it.
We stopped in the Cardinal Cafe the other day for a drink and to talk . While there I was stopped by 2 different people expressing how much they LOVED our fruit butters. One customer explained to us that she puts the Jalapeno Apple Butter on her toast every morning. She absolutely loved the flavor and cannot get enough. Another man informed me that our Pear butter was outstanding and he loves it. Wow, 2 compliments in one day from random people in our community. It felt good.
Then I headed into the only grocery store in town and ran into a few different people that I knew and we were sitting there talking for a few minutes when a person that I don't believe I have ever met came up to me and asked if I was the one who made the fruit butters. I said yes and she proceeded to tell me that she was having a hard time getting her child to eat breakfast in the morning before school. She had tried everything and he just refused to eat in the morning. She grabbed our fruit butter on a whim thinking it was locally made and that she knew there were no preservatives or anything. She had it in the fridge for the next morning and when she was struggling again with him to eat the next morning she asked if he wanted a bagel. He had previously refused bagels in the past with cream cheese, jelly, honey, butter. She had tried it all. But she finally convinced him to try the bagel with fruit butter made by us. She said that she could not believe it when she walked into the other room to finish getting ready and when she came out he had eaten the whole bagel and asked if he could take some of the "fruit stuff" to school with him for lunch.
Talk about humbling. Thank you so much is all I could think of at the moment. But as I finished getting my groceries and continued to head home I couldn't help but think that our fruit butters something that I made actually made someone's life a little less of a battle. WOW.
I know to some it may not seem like a huge thing, but when you make stuff and you don't really know if people are really enjoying it or if you are doing anything in making a difference in the big picture of the world. It seems small but nevertheless it is a step and it shows me that I am doing something, I am creating a great product that is making life and food a little more enjoyable.
We then received a phone call from one of our distributors (Cascun Farm) asking us if we would be interested in having our butters served at HUGE event in New York City. After listening to what they said and hearing about how many people would be there and what they would be talking about we were extremely excited. The foodies of foodies go to this event and it is $400 per ticket! What!! Holy smoly, but hey nevertheless our butters will be there!
So here I am re-energized, self-esteem boosted and feeling like things will be just fine. We will get to that point and keep pushing. By the end of 2013 we hope to be in triple the amount of stores we are in now and in at least 1 or more big chain stores. Well that is at least my goal plus more. But trying to keep it realistic and attainable!