The accidental baker

When I first opened my farm stand in 2014, I started baking because another stand I frequented occasionally had cookies, and in early June I didn’t have any produce ready. I fine tuned recipes and tried to figure out what would sell, and over time the baking side of the business took over the farm side. (and my dear Mother wasn’t able to visit in summers for the last 3 years, so the garden suffered terribly)

Fast forward to 2020. I had spoken with a local business about helping with a side business and bringing my goods to Glen Arbor on the weekend. In anticipation of that, I invested in a double oven and a 20 quart stand mixer to be able to produce more. That endeavor in Glen Arbor didn’t add much to my bottom line, but having the equipment installed and ready allowed me to quadruple my business in 2020, mostly, I think, because of the lockdown. Finally, locals were customers and I could sustain my business more than just for 6-8 key weeks from June-August.

This year is a crossroads for me – will the business do what it did last year, or will it go back to 2019 sales levels?? I’m in an odd position after years of being financially independent while working in the auto industry, for the first time in a long time I worry about money. My bills are minimal, a small mortgage and utilities, but I went from having so much discretionary income that I didn’t know how to spend it all, to worrying about money again at 53 years old.

I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life, ever since I left a solid job at Chrysler on a voluntary buyout in 2008, I’ve landed on my feet every time I’ve left a job. I must admit to being terrified every time I quit a job without having another one lined up, but it made me realize I am able to do a lot of different things and something usually turns up.

So today I will have an initial interview for a job with a nearby microbrewery to see whether their job is a fit for me, and I for them. It seems to be a pretty young company, so I may not be right for their corporate culture, but I am intrigued. Frankly, I just tossed my hat in the ring and didn’t expect to hear from them, but am looking forward to seeing if there might be a way to work steadily AND still do the farm stand on weekends. If this job doesn’t work out, I’ll just try to hold on until summer, hope things are busy again this year, and keep looking for local jobs.

When people tell me I’m living their dream, I laugh a little inside. People don’t realize the instability that goes along with just chucking conventional employment to make a go of it. Of course it’s wonderful to be able to live your dream or in your dream location, but you make sacrifices just like you do when you live in the city. I’ve lived in Germany, California, Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Florida and, as a child, in Wisconsin. Moving around has taught me that there are good and bad aspects to everywhere we live, but eventually each place becomes home. One just has to decide what is most important to them about where they want to make a home, and go from there.

My place in Maple City officially became mine on June 5, 2012. What made me decide to move up here (twice) was that every time I visited it became harder and harder to leave, and that was before I was involved with the wonderful Mr Bufka. I just felt so at peace here and grounded, though I admit in winter I do get a little nutty. (*must talk to doc about new meds for winter) Being here is a blessing, and I’ve met so many wonderful people and made some new friends. I still miss Rochester and my dear friends there, but I am thrilled to have this shot at making a life for myself in Northern Michigan.

This has become a brain dump of written mumbo jumbo, so I will stop here. Fingers crossed that I am able to make a financial go of it here this year too – stay tuned. Have a great week and thanks for reading my nonsense!! Andria

Published by Red Gate Farm Michigan

I'm a city girl living her dream of having a small farm in the country, living a simpler life and enjoying every minute of it! #auntbeawannabe

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