Change is in the air
Thank you so much for your support over the past two and a half years since we started our online store and delivery service. It began during the COVID-19 shut down order in 2020 when all restaurants and farmers markets had immediately closed, therefore eliminating the sales avenues for our meats, eggs, & produce.
By sheer luck we had already spent months building an online store independent of the shut down order. That week in March of 2020, we found ourselves questioning the feasibility of staying open. As a farm we were able to quickly launch an online store and string together a network of friends and family members to help us jumpstart our delivery service. After launching the online store, many of our supporters, such as farmers markets we were part of and a few news outlets, amplified this message to a wide ranging audience that was looking for food security. This was a particularly unique time in the midst of the supply chain collapse in the conventional food system. When grocery store shelves were bare, our farm and the 20+ farms we partnered with had freezers and walk-in coolers packed full of nutrient-dense food grown by small independent outfits. The first week we launched our website we were packing boxes until 3am because we were so overwhelmed by orders coming in. As our online store continued to grow, it became clear that it would be a lasting part of our business, so we bought a small warehouse and retail space in Green Lake, Wisconsin. This was a major upgrade from packing orders in a retrofitted greenhouse in our driveway!
The biggest struggle with operating our delivery service has been balancing the wide range of responsibilities demanded by our farm operations, storefront, farmers markets, events, and delivery logistics. Ultimately my goal as a farmer has been to build a food movement whose cultivation restores ecosystem functions, makes our food widely accessible to people, and builds a resilient business model for us to keep growing and doing what we love. It became clear that our current trajectory had strayed far from my passion in sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. Ultimately I found myself spread too thin, underperforming in each project, and making little progress in achieving my goals.
Enter 99 Counties
99 Counties was founded by Nick Wallace and Christian Ebersol in November of 2021. 99 Counties’ focus is to support farmers practicing regenerative agriculture and to deliver nutrient dense food, in abundance to our regional food economy. This organization creates a resilient market and support system that allows local farmers to grow as land stewards. By pooling resources and working cooperatively with farmers, abattoirs, and other food artisans, 99 Counties aims to expand their reach to revitalize our ecosystem. Folks can shop for regenerative meat on the 99 Counties website and receive delivery the next week, similar to Avrom Farm’s delivery service.
The concept for 99 Counties evolved from Nick Wallace’s certified organic livestock farm, Wallace Farms. Over the past 20 years Nick has been practicing sustainable land management on his grass-based farm in Keystone, IA. After all this time growing his farm and garnering a strong following in his community, Nick still felt like he wasn’t making enough progress in the food system. The vision for 99 Counties is to one day transform all of agriculture to become regenerative, starting with a grassroots movement that wields the collective power from dozens of small to mid-sized regenerative farms. As I have seen first hand, an individual farmer just simply does not have the time, money or bandwidth to do it all themselves. 99 Counties solves that problem by bringing together the resources to develop a market for these products, and achieve the scale and efficiency needed to make this nutrient-dense food accessible to people.
Avrom Farm’s Future
We are closing our online store to join and contribute to the work that 99 Counties is doing in building a sustainable future for our regional food economy. I first learned of 99 Counties this January when I met Nick and Christian through a regenerative agriculture lender called Steward. Nick and Christian’s mission and vision resonates deeply with me and I decided to join the movement! Avrom Farm is now raising pork and chicken for 99 Counties, and I have joined the management team leading our customer experience, business development and event departments. My passion for the better part of my adult life has been centered around this pursuit, involving a cohesive network of independent regenerative farmers, artisans, and individuals committed to building this movement. I am really excited to share this project with all of you in the coming weeks.
You will continue to see Avrom Farm at farmers markets, we will still host our annual music & food festival, Avrom Farm Party, but our farm is changing. To make this transition possible we are downsizing to focus on pasture raised chicken and eggs at least for 2023. Our online store is transitioning to 99 Counties and we will no longer accept orders on our website.
I want to invite all of you to continue supporting regenerative agriculture and following our journey with 99 Counties. We are offering a discount to everyone that wishes to join as a member or try it out by placing an order with free delivery.
$50 off your first order of $100 or more: AVROM50
Founder, Avrom Farm