Running a U-Pick farm, or really any type of farm for that matter, brings with it the need for a certain amount of flexibility and ingenuity. Sometimes the fruit gets over-extended and runs out, but other times there is an overabundance. While some people still buy or grow their own fresh fruit in order to make their own jellies and jams, this is becoming a dying art and so we here at Chatham Berry Farm make an effort of providing a large range of it for our customers. We know you don’t always have time (or the desire) to do it yourself.
Our old roadside fruit stand
So many people have become accustomed to enjoying the benefits of the labor we put into our fruit by enjoying it fresh as well as in jams and jellies. And in order to provide the most convenience possible, we offer the roadside fruit stand. This way people can stop by and pick up fruit on their way to and from work or other places, without having to drive all the way into the territory of the actual berry farm. Even with the slower pace of farm life that we try to have around here, we understand that we need to make things as quick and easy as possible to accommodate people’s busy lives.
Most people drive by roadside fruit and jam stands fairly regularly, sometimes every day, often without giving a second thought to the structure of the actual stand itself. Of course this is because they all come to look at the fruit–not the stand–and that’s exactly what we want! But a lot of work goes into not only growing the fruit, but making sure that the roadside stand where it is sold from is sound enough to hold everything. This way we can provide the best location for our customers to buy their jams and fruit.
Typically, fruit stands need to be sturdy and protective, while also remaining somewhat portable and convenient for moving when seasons change, and in Canada they sure do change! Stands which are made out of wood can get heavy to move around, but anything lighter weight can be easily blown away during a storm or other inclement weather. So when my husband and I started looking at designs for our roadside stand, we knew that we wanted high quality wood with a small roof to protect the produce from sun as well as the occasional rain shower.
Honestly, I know very little about building things, I just know what I want the finished product to be. Good homemade shelves were a must for my roadside stand, as I wanted them to look good as well as be quite functional. My husband did a great job with these as he proudly used his brand new miter saw! (Apparently this miter saw was a very important purchase as he did hours of research online. He said he read tons and tons of miter saw reviews prior to deciding exactly which saw he wanted to purchase.)
It seems that he made the right decision because he did a fabulous job and was able to make them quickly and easily.)
In addition to sturdy shelves, I also wanted some boxes or crates, but instead of using new wood I wanted to use the wood from some old pallets which were still in really good shape. Not only did I want to recycle the wood and save some money, but I liked the worn look of the wood for the boxes, versus the new wood that he used for the shelves. My husband was able to reclaim the wood from the pallets and re-create them into functional crates which look really great as well.
Although berry season eventually comes to an end, I am always still excited about the roadside stand which brings with it such a grand feeling of summer. And with the quality craftsmanship of my husband, combined with my eye for design, I think we made a pretty good team on this project. I wonder what other kinds of projects I’ll come up with for my husband next? I know he’ll be excited to use his new saw!
Image from Flickr by Eric Chan