Greetings from all of us at Willows Bend Farm!
We've had some new additions to our team here this past summer. My granddaughter, Lauren Gochenour is living with us now and has taken on an apprenticeship here. She is learning all aspects of the business while helping in the Kitchen and mixing oils for the aromatherapy side of the business. Lauren is even coming up with her own formulations and our customers appreciate her baking skills. You might see our friend, Dave around working in the yard or doing some repairs here and there. Willow is our new shop kitty. She helps our Boston Terrier, Cami, greet people and provide a little love when someone needs it.
Hello dear Customer/Friends! Here is what is happening for Thanksgiving at Willows Bend Farm.
There will be no Chef’s Table Dinner on Saturday November 23rd. That day will be our Family Thanksgiving Day.
All my kiddos have their own Thanksgiving Day plans, so instead of having Chef’s Table on Saturday, we will have two seatings on Thursday, November 28th to cater to our guests that cannot get together with family that day. The first seating will be at 2 p.m. and the second at 6 p.m.. Although I don’t have a menu fleshed out right now, it will be based on traditional Thanksgiving foods of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, whatever vegetables look good, and of course a dessert of some kind.
There will be no set price for these dinners, but a love offering donation to the farm will be gratefully accepted in a communal basket. To reserve your seat, call (804) 892-7588
I will also be taking orders for gravy, side dishes, pies and cakes to be picked up either Wednesday or Thursday morning unless another earlier time is needed. Homemade gravy is $10 per quart, 9 “ apple or pumpkin pies are $15 each, Bundt cakes are $25 each. Quick breads or loaf pan sized cakes are $15 each. If you give me enough notice, I can bake or cook whatever you like. Just let me know what you want and we can come up with a fair price and time to pick up. (804) 892-7588
We are grateful for all the love and support our customer/friends have shown us over the years and wish you a peace filled Thanksgiving with folks you love.
~Alisa and Sanford (Sandy) Strunk
What's Happening these days at Willows Bend Farm? It has been awhile since I have written a newsletter, but I am going to try harder to keep you all informed of all the fun happenings here at the farm. While I have been concentrating on communicating through Facebook, I realize that I am keeping some of my best friends and customers out of the loop. That is going to change! You will see a newsletter from me more often. Of course, if you want to opt out of that list, just let me know and I will take you off. Now on to the news!
Our Chef's Table Dinners have really taken off. If you haven't heard of them, you'll want to know that every Saturday night (unless noted) at 6:30, we have a fixed price meal chosen by me which includes appetizer, main course and dessert. We usually seat 8 people at the big table, though we can accommodate up to 12 in a pinch. Reservations are required. The menu of the week is posted on Tuesdays and seats at the table tend to fill fast, so don't wait until the last day to call. Some people reserve in advance, not even knowing what we will be having. Come by yourself or with friends and you will have more friends by the time you leave! These meals are leisurely affairs with folks enjoying gourmet food and good conversation. You may bring your own beer or wine.
The Kitchen continues to serve drop in lunch and evening meal guests but for a really special experience, call ahead to request a favorite meal or cuisine prepared just for you. We have a couple that comes every Friday night for Date Night. You can do that too. Or we can prepare food for pick up for your Date Night In, party, or any other gathering. Also be thinking about ordering for Thanksgiving. Last year we sold quarts of homemade gravy that some folks said was the best they had ever had.
Interest in classes is picking up again. You may look over our suggestions for classes, or request one you don’t see. Then call to schedule on a day or evening that works for you and tell us how many will be attending and we will advertise the remaining seats. We can generally accept 8 in a class. The classes scheduled as of this date are Painted Pumpkin Wine Glass Candle Holder on Monday October 28th at 6:00 pm, and again on November 7th at 6:00 pm. Boosting Immunity with Essential Oils is on November 4th at 6:00 pm. I am also available to speak or give group classes at your location. I will try to keep my calendar updated so you can do your best planning.
Our Big Guns Plus Concentrated Hemp Extract is working fantastically well for many of our customer friends. This is our Big Guns pain reliever oil made into a salve with shea and coconut and 325 mg of full spectrum Concentrated Hemp Extract added to work synergistically with the essential oils already in Big Guns.
We now carry an organically preserved Body Lotion that also has pain relieving properties and is available with or without Concentrated Hemp Extract. It is called Bobbie’s Lotion which I named after my mother who requested we make it.
We have also added an organically preserved Skin Serum which is also available with or without Concentrated Hemp Extract. It is silky and light weight enough to use during the day.
Sublingual Concentrated Hemp Extract in Avocado Oil comes in 3 different strengths: 300 mg /ounce, 600 mg / ounce or 1200 mg / ounce
All Concentrated Hemp Extract containing products are available in store or by calling, but may not be purchased online. Mention this newsletter for 10% off your purchase of any of these items.
Natural Deodorant Spray has lavender, tea tree, rosemary and lemongrass essential oils in aloe, witch hazel and coconut oil. We have repeat customers who love it. Try it now with a 10% off coupon code in store or online. Use code ND10 at checkout.
Call or visit the Emporium to see what else is new.
(804) 892-7588 Hope to see you soon!
Fun for all ages! Spring Plant Sale-heirloom tomatoes, herbs, flowers for pollinators and hummingbirds, kids activities. See the peacocks, pigs, turkey, chickens and bunny. Herbs, Essential Oils and Aromatherapy inside. Free refreshments from Willows Bend Farm Kitchen! Bring a friend! Vendors of handcrafted items or demonstrations of art or craft, or animal exhibits, please call. (804) 892-7588
This is a rain or shine event! We have an indoor shop to dash out of the way of any heavy downpours. Bring your umbrella and boots and have fun!
March 22, 2019
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Some of you haven’t heard from me in a while. I keep putting the newsletter on my “To Do” list, yet somehow it just doesn’t get done. It’s at the top of my list today! Thanks for sticking with me.
So guess what? We are celebrating our 10th anniversary of the opening of Willows Bend Farm! Yes, 10 years have gone by, hard to believe. As I look back over where we started and what we have accomplished and the friends we have made along the way, I can’t help but smile. There is still much to do to make Willows Bend Farm the destination that I envision, but we will get there.
In 2009 I started growing plants in the little feed shed using my mother’s old grow lights she used back in the 1970’s when she had her plant shop business and greenhouses. Those galvanized shelves still stand in my greenhouse, though the lights no longer work. They will probably be pressed into service later this year to grow micro greens. But in 2009, that is where I started all my seeds. When they were big enough to transplant, they were moved to straw bale cold frames that topped with old storm window frames that Sandy covered with plastic. On super cold nights we filled gallon jugs with water and tucked them in among the plants to stabilize the temperature and covered the top with old blankets. It was crude, but it worked! When the plants were ready, we set up a tent and a few straw bale benches, went to town and got my business license and sold our first heirloom tomato plants.
A year later we were searching for a greenhouse. We found one for sale in North Carolina; one hundred feet of abandoned galvanized hoops, benches and cinder blocks. With the help of our friends, Mike and Robbie, we dismantled that greenhouse bolt by bolt, stacked it on pallets and had it trucked here. It took us two days to take it apart, but several months to put back together! We put up 80 feet and saved the other 4 hoops for what later became our high tunnel.
I think it was that year that we got in close to a thousand cuttings and had all hands, including my daughter Lizz and her future husband, Austin, planting sometimes minascule tips into trays. Most of them lived! We continued to expand our heirloom tomato selection and focused on growing flowers for pollinators and hummingbirds as well as open pollinated vegetable plants, encouraging people to save seeds.
Fast forward a couple of years and my back was starting to give me problems. It is hard work running a greenhouse and working the gardens! I decided to branch out and also give us some income year round, so we fixed up and painted a room in our house to sell herbs.
A year after the herb shop opened, I began selling essential oils and blending them purposefully. My first really helpful oil blend is still our best seller. Joint Relief was made for someone who was in favor of postponing the knee replacement that his doctor had advised. The oil worked remarkably well. The man bought several bottles. By this time my degenerative disc disease in my back was severe. I was walking with a cane and regularly taking muscle relaxers and pain killers. I started using the Joint Relief too and my pain diminished to the point where I could ditch the cane and the drugs! I was hooked on making essential oil blends and herbal teas that could help people heal.
It soon began to get pretty crowded in that little room. It could only hold about three people! Some of you remember the herbs stacked two high and three deep on shelves to the ceiling. My apprentice, Jessica and I were bumping elbows making teas and oils. I approached the idea of renting a store front, but Sandy said he would build me a shop. I was elated!
So began the long process of getting the permits and the septic system, and the ground work that all had to be done before putting up the building. The Robert Hoyle Contracting company, right here in Dinwiddie, did a great job leveling the ground and pouring the slab and footings. We decided on a steel arch building to maximize space. It took several people raise those arches. Some of the people who helped us volunteered for the day. John, Joshua and Sandy worked the inside and Austin did some plumbing and our 30 x 30 building was completed in March of 2018. The building houses a 20 foot wall of herbs, a table for classes, my research library, the essential oils and other aromatherapy products and a certified kitchen.
The kitchen opened in July of this year and we sell breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as prepare special orders. Most food orders are to go, but we do have a few people that come in to eat on a regular basis and we deliver to the courthouse area so folks at the administration building often order lunch. We serve fresh, quality food, locally sourced whenever possible.
I have a new apprentice now, Amber. She helps me in the kitchen and making teas and aromatherapy blends. Sandy delivers food, is the all-around handyman, you will find him in the farmer’s market booths, and he has become knowledgeable enough of herbs and oils to handle many customer concerns. Sandy is also the expert to consult for our CBD oil products. Mike helps with cleanup and is planning on growing micro greens and tending the backyard gardens and animals. Even with their great help, I could use a bunch more people to keep Willows Bend Farm growing. Over the years we have had some awesome help from volunteers and interns. Billy built many of the raised beds and helped construct the high tunnel. Jessica was my apprentice like a daughter to me. Sara helped get the kitchen going. We appreciate so much the support of our customer friends who purchase from us, spread the word, and lend a hand.
To continue to keep Willows Bend Farm going and growing, we are always looking for people to barter their time for any of our products or services. We need kitchen help, tea makers, oil blenders, customer service, marketing and computer work, administrative assistant, greenhouse workers, groundskeepers…pretty much everything! Please consider exchanging your time for knowledge, experience, plants, produce, herbs, essential oils, aromatherapy products, classes, or delicious home cooked meals.
Mark your calendars for our Celebrate Spring Day on April 13th, 2019. Come for the fun!
With sincere appreciation,
Alisa and Sandy Strunk
Limited time, buy any gift card and get 10% off. Great for Valentine's Day gifting!
Willows Bend Farm 2018 Spring Celebration! It is to be held Saturday, March 31st from 10Am til 5PM.
Ready or not, here we come! Hard to believe this is our 10th year Celebrating Spring at Willows Bend Farm! Added to the usual fun is our Grand Opening of the New Emporium and Kitchen! (Yes, we are excited!)
A ribbon cutting event, at 10AM, sponsored by the Dinwiddie Chamber of Commerce will kick off a fun filled day of activities for the child at heart.
Our bigger, better Emporium is spacious and well organized for self-service. Bring your own containers or use one of ours to restock your culinary and medicinal herbs, seasoning blends, teas and organic coffee beans. Choose from nearly 200 different essential oils, and dozens of aromatherapy products. Sign up for classes or to work in the store in exchange for products.
Great specials await on seasonal plants as well as the opportunity to reserve your heirloom vegetables, perennials and herbs for later planting.
See how we start seedlings and transplants in the greenhouse. Sign up to be a volunteer in this therapeutic environment and take home free plants.
On farm tours throughout the day, you will see banty chickens including ones that look like they are wearing fancy pants and slippers; Huey, Dewey and Louie, a trio of ducks; Big Red the Bourbon Red turkey; Storm the peacock; American Guinea Hog, Stubby; and Oreo, a Julienne-potbelly cross pig; a Flemish Giant bunny named Thumper, and of course a few barn cats.
Door prizes given throughout the day.
Enjoy free refreshments made in our brand new kitchen! Sign up for classes or to be a guest cook in our What’s Cooking Today program.
We cherish and thank our returning friends for their continued support and we look forward to meeting new friends! Come help us celebrate this very important day!
We are growing! These specials are available for a limited time, to help raise money to finish the new retail space and certified kitchen. Click here to read more about our new project.
Option 1: Essential Oil of the Month: $60 per year, $35 for 6 months
Each month receive a 5 mL bottle of essential oil and a card describing the use and safety.
Option 2: Herb of the Month: $30 per year, $18 for 6 months
Each month receive a monograph and one ounce of the selected herb.
Option 3: Herbal Tea of the Month: $30 per year, $18 for 6 months
Get a different herbal tea each month.
Option 4: Tea of the Month: $48 per year, $25 for 6 months
One ounce of Green or black tea per month to include naturally flavored and fruited teas as well.
Option 5: Coffee Subscription:
Get 1 lb. of premium coffee each month: 3 months for $40, 6 months for $78, 1 year for $150
Option 6: Perpetual Remembrance Gift:
Donate $100 (or more) in memory or honor of someone you love (including yourself) and a rose or other perennial shrub or tree will be planted, tended with care and a have an identifying tag with the name of your loved one.
Option 7: Create your own option! Got a fund raising idea? Let us know!
Thank you all for your continued support of Willows Bend Farm. We appreciate each person who visits our little slice of heaven.
It is a great day at Willows Bend Farm!
The first of the arches are up and progress is being made, thanks to our fantastic crew. We're looking forward to a day of hard work - and we're very thankful for the many hands that are helping to raise this building so that we may bring you all the rewards that this new retail space, commercial kitchen, bigger & better Emporium, and classroom space will bring to our community. Stop by and join the excitement. Volunteers are encouraged & welcomed of all ages and skill sets. Or, if you're just curious about what's happening, please stop by!
The excitement is growing here at Willows Bend Farm!
We're sharing the progress so far with hopes that you will feel you are a part of every aspect of this new building. We're also hoping that the excitement will be contagious - and invite you to come join the fun by lending your hands, moral support, skilled knowledge, or just to check out what we're building for you -
We're having an old fashioned "barn raising" event this weekend (the 16th) to raise the steel arches. We'd love to have you there, as there will be much to do. Food and drinks will be provided, along with enthusiasm and appreciation for your time. There will be many more opportunities to become involved - so if you can't make it this time, no worries! Spread the word, bring a friend!
Please contact us if you'd like to help out.
SO, here's an album of photos to show you what's happening!