The first thing the Major and I did was sit down together and make a list of all the things we could possibly sell. It's a LONG list. We used our imaginations, and listed things that we not only have on farm at present, but things that might come along later if we so choose.
We started off with the animals. I spent the day researching (again) all of the rules and regulations that VT has regarding meat sales and it turns out that we can sell farm processed whole chickens and rabbits with no USDA inspection. The pigs would have to go to a USDA inspected slaughter house if we chose to sell the meat, but we can sell the pigs to their owners live, and they would have to give the butcher the cutting instructions and that is OK. Same with lamb. I prefer on farm slaughter. My ultimate goal with these animals is to give them the best/happiest life possible and a humane death. Shoving them into a car and driving them 1/2 way across the state to somewhere strange that smells of blood and death is stressful and I'm sure it effects the quality of the meat. We will be ordering meat chickens and making some chickens tractors so they can follow behind the sheep in pasture rotation, and I think for now we will be selling piglets live and not worrying about selling pork. I think we'll do the same with the lamb. They went quick enough last year that I'm not really worried about being able to sell them. I'm still trying to justify having the steer. They won't be making us any money and they eat...a LOT. I thought that maybe getting them to haul the chicken tractors would be a good job for them. Then we can work on getting them down in the woods hauling logs. I just don't have the heart to eat them...the big doofuses.
After animals we started thinking about garden stuff. We live on a road that is used frequently in the summer by tourists going to stay or use the state forest that we live next to. A farm stand next to the road might be a good source of extra income. We always seem to have extra veggies in the garden, and if we get smart this year and plant the veggies a week or so apart we won't get just ONE big harvest..it will be spread out. That might make it a lot less overwhelming for me. Nothing like 50# of tomatoes being ripe all at once to push someone (me) over the edge of sanity! We also plan on planting a few more apple trees so that in a few years we can have a decent sized orchard int he front yard.
We finished up our list with crafts and miscellaneous things. Willy warmers might sell :P And the Major can unload birdhouse gourds at his reenactments if we can ever figure out how to get them to dry without rotting. We also added Miniature Aussies to the list...but that isn't a "now" item, that would have to be something in the future and if we found the right dog to breed and show. We also listed baked and canned goods, after some research we can sell up to $125 worth of canned/baked things a week and not have to get a home catering license.
Our list took us a few hours to finish. We tried to do as much research as possible into what kinds of rules and regulations were in place and what we might have to do to sell certain things, and that took the longest. It's really good to know all of those things up front though so there are no nasty surprises later.
I feel pretty good about what we accomplished with this list. I am a total list maker though, and they keep me focused and motivated. I finally feel like we have a plan in place though with ideas and goals. It's a good place to be.