Matt and I are making steady progress in buying a property and establishing an enterprise on it. We have 25 more sheep reserved, we have found a property we are hoping to buy, and we have much of what we need to begin making hay as soon as we see some promising-looking land.
There are a few less-tangible things that also need to change, though. We are going to continue our wool enterprises, of course. That a huge part of the joy of raising sheep! But in order to sell 150 to 175 lambs each year, we are going to need to focus on selling meat a bit more intensively. We need to sell it to people who don’t know us personally and don’t know what we do.
Having a farm called Sheep and Pickle Farm has been really fun, and most people seem to think it’s really cute. But the invariable “Where’s the Pickles” questions plus the general weirdness of the name just won’t work in the broader marketplace. I’ve been selling specialty food for about 7 years now, and I’m here to tell you that a good name and logo makes a real difference, especially in markets outside of Vermont. Vermonters don’t care about slick marketing, but your label has to really yell to get attention in the crowded gourmet grocery stores of Boston. Sheep and Pickle just won’t do that. It also won’t tell people that our lamb is grass fed, that the breeds we raise are special, and about how much we care about the health and wellbeing of our flock.
So a new scale and a new venture demands that we rechristen this farm. We are working on names that are unique, purposeful, wholesome, values-driven and just a bit cheeky. Vermont has plenty of farm names that include trees (Maple Hill, Maple Grove, Maple Lane), adjective or verb – animal (Fat Toad, Fat Rooster, Does’ Leap, Turkey Hill). Sheep puns are also pretty thoroughly claimed (Ewe and I, Ewe-who, Ewe Rock) and I want to make sure that our name would make sense if we were to branch out into raising turkeys or pigs.
We have a thought brewing right now, but I’m also open to other people’s ideas. What catches your eye at the meat counter? What colors stand out to you? What annoys you about marketing?
I am eager to hear!