An Alabama couple will give away their beloved goat cheese farm to the lucky winner of an essay contest who can properly pen why they're the right person to run the creamery.
Paul and Leslie Spell's 20-acre debt-free family farm in Elkmont is up for grabs — along with their house, 85 goats, and $20,000 to keep the cheese churning, ABC News affiliate WAAY-TV reported.
"We've had a pretty successful run here, and I thought it was time for us to go help someone else," Paul told Al.com.
The couple owns Humble Heart Farms, which produces natural goat cheese and low-fat frozen desserts dubbed "Udder Escapes" and "Bama Cools."
But the retiring lovebirds are looking to leave to help their missionary friends start a goat farm in Costa Rica, they said on a website they created to host the contest.
It costs $150 to enter the competition, which the Spells hope will draw at least 2,500 contestants.
The winner will be announced on Oct. 15.
"Take a moment and jot down why you or your organization is the perfect fit to continue the farmstead goat cheese tradition," the couple wrote.
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Paul and Leslie Spell own Humble Heart Farms, a goat farm and creamery in northern Alabama with a fabulous herd. They recently put their farm up for grabs: Rather than sell it, though, the retiring owners are holding an essay contest to get the farm into the hands of another worthy farmer—experienced or wannabe.
According to WAAY TV, the couple originally tried to sell the farm but hit a roadblock when those interested couldn’t afford the $350,000 price tag. They were inspired by Janice Sage, the owner of Maine’s Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, who held an similar contest to give away the ownership of her business.
Entrants must write and submit an essay that, in 200 words or less, persuades the current owners, as well as a small panel of independent judges, why he or she is the perfect candidate to take on 20 acres, 85 goats, and their beloved goat-cheese operation. There is a $150 entry fee which, if there are at least 2,500 entries, will cover the remaining mortgage and arm the winner with $20,000 in start-up costs.
The Spells opine that there are two reasons why people daydream of dairy but don’t latch: finances and opportunity. The cost, both outright and day-to-day, can be too large for some to handle. On top of that, it takes time and work to become established and profitable.
The couple told WAAY TV that they, “hope to change someone’s life with their offer,” and plan to teach the new owners the ins and outs of the goat-cheese game. And don’t worry, novices: One of Humble Heart’s in-house cheesemakers is staying on board.
“Not to say they won’t have struggles or stuff to figure out, but they are going to start with a product that has a following,” Leslie said to WAAY TV. “They can pick it up and start running and I am so excited to see where they take it.”
Where will the Spells be once the new owners take on the farm? They’ll be in Costa Rica, teaching similar skills to missionaries starting goat farms.
Check out the contest rules and enter here by October 1, 2015. You might think it sounds too good to be true, but, trust us, they’re not kidding around.
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