Hello my good friends and friends I don’t know yet! Some of you are aware that we are expanding! Up until now we have been working and selling organic herbs, spices, seasoning blends, essential oils and aromatherapy from a room in our house and at farmers markets and at other community events. We are ready to move on to the next level. We have begun construction on our new retail space and certified kitchen. It will still be at Willows Bend Farm, right in front of the greenhouse.
-The awesome motley crew that helped erect the arches.
Let me tell you what is in the plan. First, the retail section will be a low waste, primarily self service collection of over one hundred herbs (including one of the largest selection of medicinal herbs in the Richmond metropolitan area), spices, seasoning blends, teas and coffee. We buy organic and free trade whenever possible and continue to find local growers for those herbs which will grow in our climate. Shoppers can bring their own containers, tare them out on the scale, and fill them. If you don’t have your own container, zip top bags will be provided free, or you can purchase a mylar pouch, a glass jar or metal tin. This reduces waste and helps keep costs low. How low? A friend just brought in her regular sized spice jar and filled it with oregano for less than $1.00! Yes, way lower than grocery stores.
-Herbs display at one of the farmers markets with mylar pouches.
We also have a good selection of black and green teas, and herbal tea blends that I make, often custom blended. Equal Exchange Organic Free Trade coffee is our main source of coffee right now, but we plan to explore local roasters to add to our favorite, Love Buzz.
In addition to herbs, tea and coffee, we will offer a selection of bulk raw nuts, Bob’s Red Mill products and we also have a grain mill to grind fresh flour. As the weather warms, we will offer seasonal vegetables, micro greens and sprouts and of course, fresh herbs and herb plants.
The other part of the retail space will hold our essential oils and aromatherapy products. Products that help our bodies heal like Migraine Relief, Joint Relief and Anxiety Away have consistently been our best sellers, with many repeat customers. We offer a huge selection of single pure essential oils and blend them to create all our aromatherapy products. Sometimes our customers make their own blends using our oils which we sell even by the drop, if need be, so that you don’t have to buy a whole bottle of something of which you may use only a tiny amount. Which brings me to the next facet of the Emporium at Willows Bend Farm.
-Lovely display of our blue bottles for body oils and spritzers.
My research library will be available for browsing while at the Emporium. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and take some quiet time to read and learn. Find a formula you want to try and make it in the workshop. My library includes books on herbs, essential oils, gardening, cooking, healthy living, sustainable living, homesteading and more! I will offer for sale some of my favorite titles.
We will also be giving formal classes on the above topics as well as home arts such as cooking, sewing, needlework and such. We will be bringing in people to teach a variety of subjects and share their experiences. If you have some area of expertise, you can teach at Willows Bend Farm as well. We have a tag along program, where you can work alongside me while I formulate essential oils and herbal blends. Apprenticeships and internships are also available.
Our “employees” work in exchange for products and formal classes. They find working for Willows Bend Farm is a therapeutic experience in itself, and we welcome people of all abilities to volunteer for a shift, whether that shift is an hour or a day, once in awhile or every day. The whole place, including the kitchen and bathroom, is designed so that wheelchairs can easily maneuver.
As mentioned above, the other part of the new Emporium will be the certified kitchen. In this kitchen we will be able to make and sell ready made foods. Originally, this was planned so that I could make a healthful chicken soup chocked full of herbs that you need when you are sick, but don’t have the energy to make for yourself. The idea blossomed into “What’s Cooking?” which will feature guest cooks and chefs making their favorite meals which customers can order earlier in the day or at the beginning of the week for pick up on their way home. Ready to eat or reheat, healthy, delicious, real food, using local ingredients whenever possible! Because we will have the certified kitchen, we can also give cooking and baking classes as well as rent out the kitchen to local producers who want to be able to market and sell that great tasting salsa or other specialty.
The room that the Emporium currently occupies, will become a quiet room for meditation, perhaps a traveling massage therapist, and will also be where I continue to give my free consultations on healthy living and incorporating herbs and oils for vibrant health. We will also continue to give farm tours to individuals and groups, including home school groups, day care centers, and garden clubs.
-Inside of Emporium February of 2014
So you can see this is going to be a very community oriented place, a Place of Peace to come visit with the animals, sit or paint in the garden, putter in the greenhouse, have a picnic, read in the library, take a class or all of the above! Of course all of this takes an incredible amount of money to pull off. More money, in fact, than we anticipated when we started this venture. We have erected the shell of the steel arch building on a concrete slab that is so strong it can act as a storm shelter. We have gathered some used equipment and some new for the kitchen. Our local Discount Lumber place is saving us some money and we have a small crew of amazing people who are helping us. But due to everything costing thousands more than we expected, we are looking for some crowd funding, something like Kickstarter, but without having to pay a percentage to an organization like that. To this end, I am offering several options of support for Willows Bend Farm to get some working capital to get this building finished as soon as possible. We anticipate opening early spring and will celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Dinwiddie County Chamber of Commerce. Please consider helping to get this incredible venture capitalized. Even if you don’t have the funds to purchase anything right now, spread the word! Share on social media. Tell your friends. Stop by and see how we are coming along and give us an encouraging word. Thank you so much, my friends!
Option 1: Gift Certificates.
Can be used towards products or classes.
Save 5% on gift certificates up to $99. Save 10% on gift certificates from $100 to $199. Save 20% on gift certificates totaling $200 or more. Gift certificates can be used in store, or online with a coupon code.
Option 2: 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 3: Herb of the Month.
$30 per year, $18 for 6 months
Each month receive a monograph and one ounce of the selected herb.
.Option 4: Herbal Tea of the Month.
$30 per year, $18 for 6 months
Get a different herbal tea each month.
Option 5: 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 6: Coffee Subscription.
Get ½ lb. of premium coffee per week: $28 for one month (4 half pound bags), $55 for 2 months (8 half pound bags), $82 for 3 months (13 half pound bags), $150 for 6 months (26 half pound bags) and $299 for a year (52 half pound bags).
Get 1 lb. of premium coffee each week: $55 for one month (4 bags) , $105 for 2 month (8 bags), $160 for 3 months (13 bags), $290 for 6 months (26 bags) , $550 for a year (52 bags).
Option 7: Classes.
Classes will be offered in a wide array of subjects. This subscription will allow you to use a certificate for any 2 hr. class regardless of the full price.
1 to 4 classes $28 each, 5 to 9 classes $26 each, 10 to 19 classes $24 each, 20 to 52 classes $20 each
Option 8: Painting Sessions.
We have easels, paint brushes, canvases and acrylic paints available for individuals to take into the garden and paint. Our regular price is $10 per session. A discount is applied for up front purchase of:
5 sessions for $47.50, 10 sessions for $90, 20 sessions for $160, paint once a week, every week for a year for $400 (52 sessions) You may also divide your purchase among several people.
Option 9: 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 10: 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.
To purchase or just to chat, Contact Alisa and Sanford Strunk at Willows Bend Farm, 20413 Carson Rd. Dinwiddie, VA 23841 (804) 892-7588 firstname.lastname@example.org