As the leaves fall from the trees and the sun sets earlier, production in our Bakery and Country Store shift into high gear, with staff working hard all day long to create fresh, tasty products for our gift catalog. The campus fills with the smell of fresh-baked cookies, sweet preserves, and hot melted chocolate. Our Participants don their aprons early in the morning and help with every step of the process, from creating treats to carefully placing them in gift packaging and preparing them for shipment. It’s not easy to juggle our huge amount of catalog orders, especially on top of our normal production (which includes making products like salsa, salad dressing, and more for customers), but our staff and Participants have always been able to rise to the challenge.
Lisa Hafford, the Assistant Manager of the Sugar Maple Country Store, has been through many catalog seasons over the years. “It’s a very busy time,” she explains, “and it takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of dedication from the other employees and the Participants. But it’s worth it.” Days at the Country Store are full as staff and Participants work to craft each item by hand. Lisa mentioned they have been making a lot of chocolates, which are time-consuming items. Each fruit or cookie is hand-dipped – no corners are cut! “We want to give people the best product possible, no matter what,” said Lisa. “The best part of it is that we’re also helping to raise money for our programs,” she added.
Catalog season is met with much anticipation – a mix of excitement and occasionally, dread. After working at the Country Store for over 20 years, Ruthie knows how stressful it can be. “We always say, ‘Catalog season again?! Oy vey!’” she exclaimed. She loves her job, though, which is why she’s stayed there for so long. She likes working on the line and enjoys every step of making our preserves, although she would rather not have to clean up afterwards. Even though it can be crazy, she enjoys the busier pace and takes pride in the gifts that she creates.
Having worked at many different businesses at Lambs Farm over the years, Marc knows what he wants out of a job, and he really loves the work he gets to do at the Country Store, even during the craziness of catalog season. “I’ve been helping out with the chocolates, salsa, bleu cheese dressing, jams and jellies, caramel sauce, and ranch dressing,” he said, running down the list of numerous tasks he’s been doing lately. “I’ve always enjoyed catalog season, even though we are very busy. I like to stay busy, and the staff and volunteers work very hard,” he elaborated.
Even when it seems like the orders will never stop coming, all of our staff and Participants can agree that it’s worth it. They know that the items they are working so hard on will light up someone’s face this holiday season, and that’s what really matters.