Happy Birthday to us! Exactly one year ago today we registered Somerset Escargot as an LLP with Companies House. At this point the snail farm was mostly an idea, although we had started some of the work needed to get ready for our first breeding season starting Feb 2020. More here on our first year of snail farming and an article here on our journey. So, what have we learned and will we continue our snail herding journey?
It was harder than we expected
People say that no-one told them how hard it would be to have kids – that’s not true, everyone tells you how hard it is, you just don’t want to believe them.
Snail farming is the same, exhausting, so much to learn and involves a lot of (snail) poo! And we were told it would be hard, especially when you’re trying to juggle earning an income some other way whilst you set up the business, building the infrastructure and enduring a very, very wet winter.
Last Minute HaD to Be Good Enough!
Much of what we implemented was last minute, or just in time, depending how positively you want to frame it. Looming needs were at times what created the momentum to find an additional piece of energy to get the job done. Like many thousands of hatchlings needing a home. We compromised by adding an extra smaller table to our breeding room, whilst we pushed on with the polytunnel which was so much harder to put up than we anticipated. Digging a trench, by hand in our water sodden, heavy, clay soil, which is riddled with rocks was pretty tough.
And our juveniles being ready to go outside and grow, which meant we absolutely needed to finish the enclosure. The last job of pulling across the bird netting challenging our fingers, as it cut into them like cheese wires!
Should we carry on?
And then of course there’s been the challenge of lockdown for a huge percentage of the year – the time when we were hoping to build up relationships with pubs and restaurants, so when our stock was ready, we had people to supply. This didn’t happen and so now, at the end of our first year of farming we are hibernating our stock and building our customer base at the same time.
We have asked ourselves the question “do we want to continue doing this?”. As well as “are we enjoying it?” and “is this enabling us to create the lifestyle we imagined?”. The answer to the last 2 questions are ‘mostly’ and ‘not yet’. So, we have decided, yes we will definitely carry on. There has been so much learning in this first year, we want to apply it to our next year.
We are also considering developing escargot products to make our supply more accessible to both restaurants and the public. It’s something we’re exploring right now, so watch this space!
This is when I become most excited – the creative process of innovation and inspiring people to try something different.
I’m looking forward to next year, when we will have a much better idea of what to expect, so we can plan our workload better and settle into enjoying it more.
Happy Birthday to Us,