Running a dairy farm is more than enough work for a dairy farm family to handle. When you add on farm processing and direct sales to the mix, challenges certainly come with the rewards.
The four farms in our February 10, 2020, Round Table article, “They sell their own products,” listed time, labor, supplies, and customer relations as some of their biggest obstacles. They all agreed, though, that meeting customers on a daily basis and watching them enjoy their home-grown products is very rewarding.
According to Scott and Jennifer Glover (pictured, along with their children Eliza Jane and Layne),“The fact that folks in our community are able to take home a local, high-quality product that comes from our farm and have it be a part of their daily lifestyle is special to us.” The Glovers farm in Clermont, Ga., about 60 miles from Atlanta. They said that a good customer interaction in their store can make a stressful day on the farm much better.
Adding a creamery and store to the farm is definitely a balancing act, and certain times of the year are busier than others. Continue reading to learn when the four farms in our Round Table operate their store and what parts of the year are most demanding.
When is your store open? What is your busiest time of the year?
DeBacker Family Dairy Farm, Daggett, Mich.: We have different hours depending on the season. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we are open seven days a week.
Our busiest time of year is summer. We don’t hold any promotions, but we have vending trailers that we take to local fairs and festivals.
Glo-Crest Dairy and Mountain Fresh Creamery, Clermont, Ga.: We are open year-round, and we also offer farm tours and field trips all year. Our store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
We are extremely busy in the summer and fall, especially when the leaves are changing colors and over school holidays. We celebrate a day on the farm each year during June Dairy Month. We have around 70,000 to 100,000 people visit each year.
Kilgus Farmstead, Fairbury, Ill.: The country store is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It lets customers come out to the farm and see where their milk comes from.
We always have a Christmas open house where we promote holiday baskets and meat bundles. Our busiest time of the year is May to August. That is when the majority of the tours are given (around 1,000 to 1,500 tourists per year). In the summer, we average 30 customers per day. In the winter, we may have 30 per week. We really don’t track it very closely.
Oak Lawn Farm and Kelley Country Creamery, Fond du Lac, Wis.: The creamery opens each year on March 1. In March to April, we are open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Between May 1 and Labor Day, we are open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For September to December, our hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; we are closed in January and February.
May to October is our busiest time. More than 200,000 people visit each year.