Our little farm stand is finally open for business and I could not be prouder. I’ve dreamt of creating a space for my Franklin neighbors to have access to local organic food and goods since we moved here in 2015. Franklin, WI has a population over 36,000, yet we don’t have a local farmers market to call our own. Putting together this farm stand has been my way of filling that void. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was our stand! So today I wanted to show you all the work we put into it to make it a reality. Get ready for some serious before and after shots!
Before (AKA a Random Shed)
When we moved to the area it was the dead of winter. Our beautiful property had lots of great functional outbuildings, but this random shed across from our garage was an odd man out. The previous owner informed me his daughter used it as her recycling center - go girl! For us, it just stayed empty for the first two years.
I lovingly called it the mouse hotel...
We got our first flock of eight chickens within three months and then chicken math took hold. For those who aren’t familiar with chicken math, it’s when you say you only want eight chickens, but then you suddenly have 40. It’s a real thing folks and I am living proof. My case of chicken math was not without its reasons though! Scaling to 95 chickens was born out of my deep desire to bring healthy delicious eggs from happy hens to our neighbors. I wanted to raise a fair amount of poultry that was good for the bird, our environment, and our health.
The book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is basically what it’s like to be me. My loving life partner, Paul, obliged with every surprise request along the way. We have 95 chicks. Okay, how do we house them safely and comfortably? We built three mobile chicken tractors for them (you can check them out here!). Alright, now where do we put them? We bought a small garden tractor to mow the back 3 acres of our property so the chickens have grass to play on. Wonderful, now where do we sell all these eggs?!
Which brings us to that shed without a purpose. I looked at this empty shed every single day of our Franklin-inhabiting lives and suddenly in September of 2017, a light bulb went on. You can blame Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper for that light bulb. Making old spaces new again is something I love and Joanna’s show was like seeing that love in action all over the TV screen. I immediately went to work designing a plan, curating decor, and selecting building materials.
The major demo and renovation were done by my wonderful father (pictured above). He is the energizer bunny of projects. Over the course of three days, he ripped the shed down to the studs, cleaned out the mouse nests, sealed up the holes, put up our shiplap, and installed the floor. I helped by sanding and painting the doors - you know, the real back-breaking stuff. ;)
My fellow decor addicts know the power of Pinterest. I definitely pulled a ton of visual inspiration from that platform. Lots of wicker, rustic undertones, and chalkboards galore make up our farm stand’s theme. Most of our decor was bought from Goodwill or given to us as hand-me-downs. Paul built me a wooden rolling cart for our mini fridge and now I want him to build me all the things for our fixer upper 1950s ranch home!
For the signs, I created templates using thick cardstock in a Cricut, taped in place over wood painted with chalkboard paint, and then I spray painted it. Then I went back over with a small paint brush to do touch-ups. I won't lie, it was an extremely tedious process, but totally worth the end result.
After (AKA The Farm Stand Of My Dreams)
Scroll through to see our farmstand throughout the growing season. We love reevaluating and making changes to how we organize and set everything up.
The whole project took about four months to complete. My biggest takeaway is done is better than perfect. I think the results are adorable and I love hearing my customers tell me how cute the space is. We now average 150 regular customers per month at the farmstand and business is fantastic.
Locals: We hope you stop by our farmstand and pick up some goodies to see for yourself!
Fellow farmers and homesteaders: Want more info on how we grow awareness of our farm through online marketing and increase our customer base? Click here!
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to composting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we turn the 80 acres we call home into a farm that serves its community and a homestead that nourishes us throughout the seasons.
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Favorite Books of 2022
2. Braiding Sweetgrass
3. As Long As Grass Grows
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. The Zero Waste Solution