January 31, 2013 Newsletter

Pandora and Zeus' Pups
Pandora's Pups

Greetings to everyone from the farm!!! We hope you and yours are doing well and thought we'd share our news and thoughts with you before it gets too busy. Of course, that implies that it's been slow and I can assure you it hasn't been like that at all in our lives. Anyway, winter is still strong with 8 inches of snow yesterday and some more cold temperatures thru Saturday morning which you know. And here's some of the challenges and blessings we've had in recent months which you may or may not know.

Since early last fall we unveiled the website for our business and have been working on updating and improving it ever since. It seems hard to believe it's been 3 months since launching it, but time passes quickly around here. We have a long way to go to get our site where we want it, but we have had some positive results already. Our long term goal is to have an order form for our customers (partners: see website) that want our newsletter as well as another page where we start selling and shipping our products directly from the website. It's ambitious and will take time but I believe we can get there if we put the effort in. Only time will tell how well we succeed on those fronts, yet I believe our site can help us move our business forward in the future.

Before I get too deep into what's all happened since late fall, I'd like to take a moment and review last year briefly. The first milestones we crossed last spring were that we had a lot of beef and lamb ordered for the fall of 2012 by March 31. I'd be remiss if I didn't say it was both a wonderful problem and yet a challenge which we needed to overcome at the same time. Believing this truly was the direction God wanted us to follow we bought some feeder steers to increase the availability of grass-fed beef for the fall and more ewes so we'd have more grass-fed lamb to offer everyone. In May we picked up Zeus, a Great Pyrenees male puppy, to keep Pandora company. Of course the drought was a challenge for us during the summer and fall and yet we were blessed with some timely rain for our pastures to provide enough feed for the summer and winter.

Basically, our fall harvest was successful although we had some new problems which we're working on ironing out for the upcoming year. One of our goals has been to deliver top quality grass-fed products to our partners seamlessly and we've been successful to that end for the most part. We will do our very best to fulfill everybody's hopes while remaining true to the cardinal goal of sustainably raising organic grass-fed meat. This past year we also offered free range chickens which were GMO free. We'll continue to offer them although freezer room has haunted us, so we may raise less since production out ran marketing quite significantly. Maybe, we were just overly lofty in our goals in this arena. Obviously, we'll need to bring production and marketing into balance as we go forward. The egg side of our business has maintained a tenuous balance with sales and production balanced. Thankfully, we have a limited supply and some partners who seem to need eggs just as we're looking for homes for them. Thank you all very much!

December of 2012 was both rewarding from a business vantage and challenging personally. Personally: My mom passed away right before Christmas so saying good-bye to her for a while was a new challenge. While I'm confident she will be with Jesus forever, it's never easy to watch a parent move on. I can rejoice in the fact that she had a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior while she was here.

On the business side: The New Leaf Winter Market seen the debut of our initial portable insulated display case. It was met with a lot of attention and affirmations from many, many people at the KI Center; including vendors, customers, and the New Leaf Market organizers and volunteers as well . We knew we had a product exposure problem for sometime and now we had the beginnings of a great solution. Unlike a vegetable vendor who has their product displayed for everyone to see, our products were inside coolers and a freezer with practically the only visibility for customers occurring when someone else was purchasing something from us. I'm sure we'll need to continue to tweak things as we go forward and each challenge will test our problem solving skills, but I can state with a certitude that our display case was met with enthusiasm and one of our goals is to have the display case be a keystone to exposure of our products at Farmers' Markets.

2013 arrived with new challenges and rewards for us. Pandora is a proud mom since January 15th with 12 puppies to take care of. A lot of time and effort has gone into helping her be successful though in the near distant future they'll be enjoying the great outdoors. It's been a new experience for us helping Pandora whelp coupled with many rewards for both us and Pandora. She's a very proud Mom doting on her puppies.

I had shared with many of you at harvest time in December that I'd be sending out a questionnaire/survey (Which unfortunately was delayed.) which I hoped many of you would respond to therefore assisting us in improving the entire gambit from your pre-order through your satisfaction level with the fall harvest, including our communication you, from beginning to end, right through your interactions and thoughts with your processor. I apologize for my tardiness in getting that sent out to you, once again, theory and reality didn't meet. While I already have some of the information from various emails or phone calls I also know not everyone has shared their thoughts about how things went last year. While we strive to meet and exceed everyone's expectations, I'm not silly enough to believe we met and/or exceeded everybody's expectations on every front. One of our goals is to constantly improve every aspect of our business and we'd appreciate your feedback on how or when we succeeded and/or failed. Thank you very much for your time in that endeavor as well as your support of our farm. Without great partners, we realize we don't have a business, and that's a FACT. Thank you for everything!! May God Bless you and everyone everyday!


Dennis Drzewiecki, President

River of Dreams Inc.
23927 W. Hillcrest Rd.
Brillion, WI 54110

Email: Dennis Drzewiecki