How to make money on a homestead is something I'm often asked. Today I'm going to share with you some very practical tips on how to use your homesteading skills to make some quick cash. You can put these tips to use to raise money very quickly in case you need extra funds or for a fundraiser, which is what I'm doing this season.
A little backstory here that will tie it all together. My daughter is in elementary school and we live pretty rurally. For us to have a school district, we bus kids in from five different towns. Even with that we have a small school and in the elementary school we don't have any sports programs for basketball and volleyball funded by the school district. Thankfully we have volunteer coaches and programs that the kids can still have sports when in elementary school, even though they're not funded through the school.
One of these programs is the basketball team that my daughter is on. It's a travel team where they travel every Saturday to neighboring towns and play against different teams. To be in this league there is a fee to be able to play. Plus they have to purchase their own uniforms. This fee is pretty steep at over $800 for this small basketball team of multi-grade kids. Not all families are able to afford the fee but we want every girl to be able to play, so we are doing a fundraiser. Our goal is to come up with enough money to pay our league fees as well as the girls uniforms.
So we're doing a bake sale, but not just any bake sale. I know bakes sales are nothing new, but here's where you can take your homestead kitchen skills (and even non kitchen skills) to use. In this podcast episode we'll cover all the different skills we're using and things we're doing for this fundraiser.
Listen in below to the full podcast, Episode #218 Using Homesteading Skills to Make Money of the Pioneering Today Podcast, where we don’t just inspire you, but give you the clear steps to create the homegrown garden, pantry, kitchen and life you want for your family and homestead.
Our focus is to help out those who don't necessarily have baking skills or have the time to bake things around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. The other holidays, such as Easter, Mother's Day, and maybe Father's Day we'll do this too. So what we're doing is taking preorders for homemade pies and baked goods. We'll then have them all freshly baked for people to pick up the day before Thanksgiving at our location (which is going to be the local grocery store). Those who preorder are guaranteed to get their items. We'll have some baked goods that hadn't been preordered for sale as well for those who are just in the store and are interested in buying some homemade goods.
Things to Consider When Selling Baked Goods
That is one of the components of our fundraiser. What's pretty amazing though is that by doing this bake sale as a fundraiser, people can make items in their own kitchen, not operating as a business, and don't have to worry about any type of food laws. I think it goes without saying that anyone who is participating with baking goods are practicing good sanitation.
If you weren't doing this for a fundraiser or in a bake sale, there are different cottage laws that allow you to bake things at home or in an approved kitchen, depending on the laws. If you're looking at this not as a fundraiser this may give you some ideas on how you could earn extra money using your homestead baking skills.
For example, selling at a farmer's market, there are cottage laws that cover this scenario. You'll want to look at the specifics for your state. I've not actually sold baked goods at a farmer's market but I have talked with several people who do and have explained that the cottage laws allow you not to have a commercial kitchen and require that you list all of your ingredients on each item.
Each area and state may have slightly different laws so definitely research them. But if you're looking to raise some quick money, then this can be an excellent way to put those homesteading baking skills to use.
How to Minimize Your Costs
For our bake sale fundraiser, I am doing pumpkin rolls on preorder and they are $20 a piece. The pies are $15 each and they are preorder as well. Here's where your homesteading skills help defray the costs of making these items. Since this is a fundraiser, any money spent to make the pies and pumpkin rolls comes out of my budget so that all funds raised go directly to the girl's team fees. This means I have to be as frugal as possible.
Now, if you're a member of The Pioneering Today Academy or in my Homecanning with Confidence course, you know that I preach in the summertime when you can get the produce much, much cheaper than they are this time of year. They're in season and fresh either off your own land or from farmer's markets and you put them up. This time of year it comes in so handy. I'm able to offer blackberry pies because we had an over abundance of blackberries this year. It was an excellent harvest for blackberries and my whole family, kiddos and my husband and I, we all picked and canned up 12 jars or more of blackberry pie filling.
So one of my options is blackberry pie because I don't have to go and get the berries…and honestly, I'm pressed for time. This makes it super quick for me to make these from scratch blackberry pies and them them baking that morning to deliver them fresh by 10 AM since all I have to do is take my frozen dough that I made ahead of time. Now, if you listened to my podcast episode on Baking Hacks & Tips for Busy Nights and How to Freeze Dough then you know how to batch up the pie dough to have it ready to go.
Basically all I'm doing is opening a jar, dumping it into the pie shell, rolling out the top crust and popping it into the oven. It doesn't get any easier.
The other option that I'm offering is pumpkin rolls and pumpkin pies. I'm able to do this because my sugar pie pumpkins did amazing this year in my garden. Because the pumpkins did phenomenally I'm able to do creamy pumpkin pie, which ain't your mama's pumpkin pie.
It's actually my mama's pumpkin pie recipe, but it's different than a lot of regular pumpkin pies. In fact, this year I had Pioneering Today Academy members come to my homestead and I cooked them dinner. My mom came down and served her pumpkin pie. It was so much fun because members who admitted they really didn't like pumpkin pie say that it was the best pumpkin pie they'd ever had. So this is why I'm making my mother's creamy pumpkin pie recipe for the fundraiser; it's delicious and I have a lot of pumpkin.
That's why I'm also doing the pumpkin rolls…I don't have to buy the pumpkin. Now, I do have to buy the flour, sugar, butter, and cream cheese, but the main things like the produce, I don't have to buy now. Now, this year I didn't get an overabundance of apples so I'm not offering apple pies during this fundraiser.
A wise homesteader know when you have an abundance of a crop, you put it up. This has saved us on off years or when we needed to feed extra people or do a fundraiser.
I will usually put up a little more than we normally would use in a full year because you never know what the next year's weather is going to bring and what you're going to have. I had a ton of blackberries and a ton of extra pumpkins. I've already canned up quite a bit of my pumpkin, but I have more to make into puree in order to make the creamy pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls.
PSST, want my recipes, scroll down to the bottom of this article to the resource section for the links!
How Batching Helps Save Time
Not only does this cut my cost down for doing it, but I'm also batching a whole bunch of these. Like I said, I already have my pie crust dough batched and frozen (it bakes up beautifully). I'm going to do the same with the pumpkin rolls, which freeze phenomenally well. You can make them now and put them in the freezer for up to 6 to 8 weeks. They could probably go even up to three months, but I usually just do them in the first part of November and then serve them at Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas.
I'm going to be making up a few pumpkin rolls every day just because I'm not going to buy extra pans which means I can only bake two at a time. Then I'll freeze them, then when I deliver to everybody I'll just tell them to either keep it frozen until they want to serve it or just let it thaw in the fridge.
The really interesting thing about pumpkin rolls is that when they're frozen the flavor seems to intensify. I actually prefer them when they've been frozen and then thawed. It doesn't affect the texture at all. You just slice them and away you go. That's one way you can get ahead. A lot of my batching was done during the summer, not even knowing we were going to do this type of bake sale fundraiser.
Produce Picked at the Peak of Ripeness Gives the Best Flavor
The other thing is that you can charge more and people will be willing to pay to have you do this stuff, especially when you're using homegrown things like the sugar pie pumpkins. Homegrown sugar pie pumpkins are naturally sweeter and have a much better flavor depth than store-bought pumpkin (which is most likely butternut squash). When pumpkin is cured properly, it makes all the difference in the texture and flavor. You can't even compare it to store bought because those pumpkins are picked before they are fully ripe in order to be able to ship them and they'll be on store shelves longer than if you go out to your garden and get it. When they're picked early, they don't have a chance to develop its full flavor.
Look for time savers to help you get done in the kitchen faster. One thing that I've started doing, and is the only way I'll make pumpkin puree any more, is using my Instant Pot. No chopping or peeling involved and it's fully cooked in 15 minutes! Watch the step by step tutorial to find out more.
Learn and Apply Skills and Find Your Niche
I've been blessed to witness members of The Pioneering Today Academy and students in my Homemade Bread & Baking Class take the skills they've learned, and apply it in a way to earn money. For example, they provide sourdough bread to people every month. There are so many things you can do. I just happened to pick pumpkin rolls and pie for this particular fundraiser.
Holiday Family Bundle
Now, if you don't know how or feel you're skills are up to par to be charging for your goods (or even just for yourself and your family), then you are in the right spot! The Holiday Family Bundle allows you to get both my Homemade Bread & Baking System as well as my Handmade Master Class on making your own traditional homemade soaps, herbal salves and balms, ointments and beeswax candles.
In the Homemade Bread and Baking class I show you how to make homemade croissants, which are so much better than anything you can get in any store. I did not make croissants for a very long time because I was intimidated by them. But I promise you, it's really not that much work. There's like five minutes of rolling out dough and then it sits in the fridge. The actual hands on time is really not that much. I break it all down. The first time I made them I thought, “I should've done this sooner!”
If you're not ready to tackle croissants, don't worry. There are a lot of other classes. Want to learn to make flaky pie crust that turn out flaky? It's in there.
I walk you through sandwich bread, artisan bread, including sourdough, gluten-free sourdough as well as ancient grain, einkorn, and fresh ground flour. Also covered is regular all-purpose or bread flour because I know everyone is at different spots. You can use all those flours to turn out delicious, amazing homemade products. That's what I want for every single person.
Think Outside the Box. What Would Be Useful That People Would Want?
The other thing that we are doing for our fundraiser is raffling off some firewood. It might not technically be a kitchen skill but it is definitely a homesteading skill. Knowing how to chop firewood and drying and seasoning it is a key homesteading skill. Seasoned firewood is key because green firewood ain't going to do nobody a bit of good. All you're going to get is smoke and no warmth and it will not burn good. So dry, seasoned firewood is key and that's something you're going to be doing for yourself, but if you have an excess or you can get to some wood or logs that can be another easy way where you can make some extra money.
I know a lot of people that will sell a couple extra cords of wood. They purposely will dry and season it during the prior season (the prior summer) and will sell it around Christmas time because people are needing it around that time as we head into winter. It can be a great way to make money.
As you develop your homesteading skills, not only will you serve you and your family on your homestead, but you can also use them to make an income and extra money.
Handmade Master Class (Natural Homemade Bath & Beauty)
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Episode #215 – Baking Hacks & Tips for Busy Nights: How to Freeze Dough
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