Before Amanda’s Farm to Fork was what it is today, owners Amanda Browning and her husband, Rooster, offered farm tours on their 27 acres in Lula.
Now, nearly two years after getting that restaurant underway, the Brownings are hoping to get back to those days of farm tours by building a new barn on their property.
“We would have people come out and see the farm,” Browning said of the old days. “We'd do cheese-making classes for the kids, we would talk about all the parts of the farm and what we did there and it has always been something that we missed.”
The barn they’re hoping to build — pending approval from the city — will be a 3,000-square-foot space for cooking, classes and events.
Browning already hosts cooking classes at the restaurant, which is just a half-mile down the road from her farm, but the new barn will offer more space for the classes and parking. They host birthday parties and other types of small parties at the restaurant, too, but the new barn will give them more options.
Browning is excited to offer things not possible at the restaurant.
They raise Gulf Coast sheep at the farm, so she's looking forward to having sheep-shearing classes. She also used to have an apothecary business, so she wants to get back into soap making and teach classes in it, too. She’s hoping to host canning classes, cheese making classes and even beekeeping classes.
“I think for my husband and I, we have both embraced the entire concept of living on the farm and utilizing everything on the farm,” Browning said. “And it's always been very near and dear to my heart to be able to teach other people some of these things.”
She said they simply don’t have the space at the restaurant, so the new barn will be the place for the additional classes.
The cooking classes are another part she’s most excited about.
“We want to really hold classes in the kitchen,” Browning said. “To have some hands-on cooking is a whole other venue that I want people to be able to get … Part of cooking is all about being able to play with the food. You have to be able to cook and feel and see what it's like.”
As the restaurant has grown and more people have been drawn to the Lula area, Browning said she knew it was time to expand Amanda’s Farm to Fork’s footprint.
“We've built things up and we have quite a following and we're able to grow so this is the next logical way to grow,” Browning said.
And she said she can’t think of a better place to do that growing.
“We don't want to move from our space here in Lula,” Browning said. “Being a part of Lula has always been important to us and we don't want to leave here.”
Browning said she’s excited to get kids and adults out to the farm again and show them what they have up close. It’s getting back to what she and her husband truly enjoy and what got them into the restaurant business in the first place.
“People really enjoy the atmosphere when they come out to a farm,” Browning said. “They'll drive past animals all day long, but when they're standing five feet from horses in a pasture, it's a whole new world and we'd like to open that world up to so many more people in our area.”
It’s a world she’s been thinking about for quite a while and a world she knew they needed to build as soon as things started “falling into place in such a good order.”
“I feel like God had a plan before I did and he was like, ‘You need to go for it,’” Browning said.