Looking at the food in my fridge, the eye cream on my nightstand, my modern life was coming full circle. I was striving to eat and live like my great-grandmother did 100 years ago on a farm.
All natural. Farm fresh. Organic. Composted. Home-grown. Local.
The realization reframed the way I approached feeding our family, planting a garden, and choosing my skincare. For me, it sparked a step toward rediscovering farm stand culture.
Farmstand culture is all about the way communities were for millennia. Up until we radically changed and commercialized our approach to daily life, over the past 100 years, neighbors shared their garden surplus, and families ate fresh, homegrown food.
I’m not advocating for a total return to the past. Not really. Frankly, I am pretty happy with modern food supply chains and dental care, especially the dental care.
Of course, it’s not all or nothing here. Embracing some of the best ways of the past doesn’t mean that we should throw away all of the ways of the present. We should choose the best approach, which is probably a blend.
Think about your own approach to living. Have you, too, found that your approach to daily life is a little more about fresh food and clean ingredients?
Down the street and around the corner there’s a small, homemade farm stand. I’m sure most of my neighbors don’t think much about it.
The little stand is painted dark red with a blue umbrella. It has a brilliant little slot you can slip cash into on the days when there is even something there for you to buy. It’s not a new stand. It’s been there for years and years. They don’t stock it very often any more.
One night this week, they set out three recycled egg cartons and pushed up the umbrella. I had to stop and buy one. Not because I needed eggs, truthfully, I had two dozen at home. I stopped because this was the stand that started it all for me, and I had yet to actually visit it.
I drive by this stand almost every day. Over the years, I started thinking about where the people behind the stand got the plans to design and build a custom farm stand with a money slot. What inspired them? Was it an abundance of produce or a desire to connect to their neighbors?
Why would anyone have a farm stand anymore? There are grocery stores and farmers’ markets in every town. There are very few, if any, neighborhoods left that need a farm stand to offer fresh eggs, produce or goats.
Yeah, goats. I’ll explain in a minute.
One night, I was driving home past this stand and the idea hit me. It’s only very recently that we stopped having a need for local farm stands. It’s sad, if you think about it. We don’t need our neighbors to share their saved seeds or host a “First Peas” party. We can go to the store and buy peas anytime. Just buy your seeds from Amazon. Done. Easy.
Maybe there is still some need for farm stands. Maybe it’s actually reemerging. It’s very personal to get to know the people who grow your food or make your skincare products. They will tell you what made them choose a certain variety or process. They’re not squeezing profits out of their operation. Some motivations are purer than profits.
Or maybe they just have too many goats. Occasionally, when there is an abundance of goats, they write “Goats for sale” on the little sign next to this farm stand. They don’t actually, technically sell goats at the farm stand. There’s never been goat milk or soaps available at this stand, but I’ve always thought the little goats for sale sign was adorable. It also highlights the variety of goods you can buy from your neighbors. We might think it’s a little funny to procure goats from a neighbor, but we might be the first generation in history to think that way.
I don’t know if I myself will ever have the flexibility in my schedule to open a farm stand. Writing for Farmstand Culture might be as close as I come. I’d be ok with that outcome. The name, the original series and the inspiration behind this site all began with a little red farm stand that captured my day dreams.
There aren’t enough items available at this stand to list the Top 5! But there were at these other farmstand5 hot spots.
You might think I am about to tell you just to redefine weeding in your mind, and it will take the work out of it. I’m not.
Weeding is hard.
It’s hard for me. It’s hard for you. It’s hard for professional landscapers and farmers. People have been murdered over weeds. Weeding is reality, and it can get overwhelming quickly.
But for the everyday gardener, reframing weeding as winning is really about the habits successful people develop.
One of my coworkers went through a phase where he listened to a lot of podcasts about successful people and what a typical day was like for them. He asked me a question I have heard before, “Do you meditate?” I told him I don’t.
He thought for a second then asked me how I start my day.
I get my tea, round up the kids and go to the garden. He asked what I do in the garden. Pull weeds, mostly. HA! That’s it. He said successful people start their day with a “win”.
Weeding is my win.
I really appreciate someone pointing that out to me. It inspires me to share that thought with you. Oh and true confessions, I haven’t always been perfect, but I pretty much crave going to the garden to pull at least one little weed or straighten up one tilting plant every day.
My actual win today is clipping all of my chives before they go to seed. It took about five minutes. I learned my lesson with this one last year.
It makes me curious. If you think about your morning, do you start your day with a win? What is your win? PG-rated, of course.