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Inviting Infrastructure

Enhance on-farm marketing with inviting infrastructure

Gazebo

Do you want to create a welcoming and appealing space for customers at your farm? Have you been thinking of making aesthetic and functional improvements but want to keep costs low? Adding inviting, low-cost structures to your business can be an inexpensive way to attract customers and provide space for direct marketing.   For new and beginning farmers, creativity and frugality can go a long way toward making practical and beautiful spaces.

PA-WAgN recently toured Piney Creek Greenhouse in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, to find out how owners Vernon and  Lucille Martin create welcoming spaces to draw customers in to look around and stay awhile. Then we traveled down the road to Friend's Farm to apply the lessons we learned. Participants helped farm owners Chris Wise and John Favinger build a beautiful and inviting pergoa at the entrance to their farm.

At Friend's Farm, Chris Wise and John Favinger run a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where members come to pick up a share of the weekly harvest of food and flowers, buy fresh food at the on-farm market, and volunteer in the fields. Chris and John were inspired by the structures at Piney Creek Greenhouse and wanted to incorporate something similar at their farm to provide an inviting place for their friends and customers.

 

They decided to build a pergola at the front of the farm to provide a beautiful shady spot flanked by perennial gardens. They plan to grow grape vines over the structure and add benches on the inside. They envision this being a welcoming spot for customers as well as a shady place where CSA members working in the sun can sit and relax.

Wise Building 

Before we arrived, John cut black locust posts from his woodlot and sunk them in the ground at each corner of the pergola. He chose locust for its durability. (Locust has long been the wood of choice for fenceposts because of its exceptional resistance to decay.) We cut smaller poles and bolted them for the roof. In a couple hours, we had created a structure that was simple, yet graceful, and practically free. When the vines and flowers planted around its base mature, it will serve its purpose well.