Sorry for the delay, but there has been a lot going on, as evidenced by our latest newsletter. When we last met, I told you about the Meat Annuity and our first foray into the farmers markets. I will continue to leap around a bit, but for this post I want to get back to some thoughts on the topic of barter.

As many of you know, our family also owns a Christmas Tree Farm in Sebastopol. For the past 40-odd years, we have always kept our wine cellar filled by trading trees to the local tasting rooms in exchange for bottles of vino. These really are my first memories of barter, as I was always the wheeler-dealer on behalf of the family in this endeavor. This worked out well for everyone else, but I’m not much of a wine drinker. About a year ago, a guy comes up at Christmas time and starts to ask about my willingness to trade. Having heard every pitch a million times, I started to give him my patented “gentle” let down. And then I heard those magic words: “I work for Southern Wine and Spirits”. The skies lit up, the clouds parted, and I swear I saw a leprechaun riding a unicorn delivering my favorite adult libation. While I’m not much of a wine drinker, I do enjoy whiskey on the rocks from time to time. Those times are 7pm, 8:15pm and (if it’s been a really bad day) 9pm. I do limit it to only the days that end in Y. And so my new best friend (whose name is Gary) and I established a perfectly mutual barter relationship.

That is a really important concept that differentiates barter from a lot of other transactions. Barter can build a relationship that you not only didn’t have before, but may lead to other relationships that benefit you personallyand professionally. It ended up that because barter typically involves face to face interaction, Gary and I had the chance to get to know each other a bit. Turns out our kids go to the same school. That led to talking about the fund raising dinner/dance Laura was helping run. That led to him asking if there was anything he could do to help. That led to the foundation getting a great deal on the booze for the event. That booze led to the attendees getting properly lubricated and spending more money on the charity auction, because the drinks were cheaper thanks to Gary’s help. That led to more money going to our kids’ arts, music and computer programs. And that is how my drinking VO on the rocks is good for the children of Sebastopol!

Where was I??? Oh yeah, relationships. See, if I had continued to buy my hooch at my local mega-mart, I probably would not have met Gary and none of the above would have transpired. But here is the problem with barter. Remember how at some point in the Christmas season I got more wine than my family needed and no longer had any need to trade trees for it? The hassle with barter can be finding someone that wants what you have and has what you want. I recently became part of an organization called Bay Bucks ( There are tons of barter sites popping up all the time, and I have been asked to participate in some of them. The challenge was always trying to find that magic marriage of have and need. Bay Bucks if the first one that I have found that solves this dilemma. When someone wants a box of meat from me, I get paid in “Bay Bucks”. I can then take those Bay Bucks and pay someone else in the network that has what I need with said Bay Bucks! Even better, the organization takes care of the taxation issues. Yes, barter transactions are subject to the same taxation as a cash sale. Now, typically this can get “overlooked” by the parties involved. I’m not here to make a political statement on taxes or how they get misused by our government, or why we continue to vote people into office that have everything but the citizens’ interest at heart. That is not the purpose of this post, so I won’t say any of that. However, by providing a 1099-B, Bay Bucks puts in the barterer and barteree’s hands the tools to deal with the bookkeeping in the simplest way possible. I think that the easier something is, the more people/business will make use of it. Bay Bucks has done that with barter, and I am really excited about the new relationships I will form because of the transactions I will make through them.

For more info, check them our at!