The problem is the solution
Anyone who's been to our farm knows how hard it is to find. Yes, it's on an incredibly busy road, and technically one would think it should be simple to get here, but it isn't. In fact, most people miss us the first time by. Heck, even Tim and I have to be mindful to slow down at the right place to pull in.
People ask, why don't you just put out a sign? The short answer is, we can't. Being on a provincial highway means there is a whole other layer of rules and regulations around signs, setbacks, and what is and isn't allowed. Combined with the farm being in a valley, with lots of trees at the property line, and on a wide bend in the road, makes it even more challenging. There's no actual place to put a sign that will be seen unless it's VERY large, and even then, there's a good chance it won't be seen by people travelling at high speeds.
Highway 6 is a very fast road. It's not unusual to have cars passing going up hill in front of the farm at 120 km an hour. A sudden stop on the road could cause an awful accident. There was a terrible accident just down the road this past winter. Preventing a second one is important.
Space, surprisingly, is in short supply. Although the farm itself is 50 acres, the flat areas on the farm are few and far between. Up by the house, there's a very limited amount of space that can be used for effective parking. This space is also some of the space we have for gardens, grazing, and hosting workshops. We can only have so many cars parked at a time.
People coming in off the road expect a full farm store like the ones that have popped up over the past two years on farms. They are stocked full of local baked goods, produce, dairy, gifts, and other amazing items. They are mini-farmer's markets. Some even have a bakery and café. This doesn't seem like it would be a good fit for us, especially since we have limited space.
So what does one do? We've been grappling with this for the past few years. Like many problems we have, we turn to permaculture principles to help us.
Maybe we need to look at the problems we are seeing, and reframe them as benefits. Out lack of signage means we are super private and you can only get here if you want to. The trees and hills provide a beautiful landscape full of wildlife. Lack of parking means fewer people at one time but it does mean a private, personalized farm experience.
With all this in mind, we have decided to try something new out. Here it is!
We really enjoy doing farm tours as it's the best way to really let people see all the aspects of the farm from dairy to wool processing. It feels like getting ready for a party each time we do one. Getting all our products ready for tasting, having Neville be a part of the tour, and spending time with each group of people is really amazing. Not only do we educate others, but we always learn something as well.
Each time we take our dogs for a walk, we love the freedom and fun they have. They can run, sniff, explore, and be a dog to the max. Nibbles and Fizz Buzz run up hills, chase down smells, and occasionally chase a critter, although they don't get too far. They never fail at each walk to check their favourite holes to see what's new, and each spot they come across that is super stinky, they roll - or at least Nibbles does. They have SO MUCH FUN! We are now an official Sniffspot private dog park space.
If it's a private, simple place to enjoy nature, then this may be what you are looking for.