Monday, April 23, 2012

The New Urban Homestead Stores

Portland Homestead Supply Co.
Cheese making is just one of many back-to-basics skills supported by the new "homestead stores."

If you live in a city, and you've read any book like "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," etc., you know how important it is to eat fresh, whole food.  Some of you have a little garden and maybe a chicken or two, but most of you have to go to the nearest farmer's market to get fresh produce.

This book was written by the owners
of The Urban Farm Store in Portland

However, although you are buying your food instead of growing it, you still need to have all the skills of a farmer if you want to eat a healthy diet.

What do you do with all those berries in June?  You can them.  What do you do with those cucumbers in July?  You pickle them.  What do you do with those apples in the fall?  You make cider.  What do you do with those 5 gallons of raw milk you drove 60 miles to obtain?  You make cheese.

So, there you are in the city and the nearest general store is 200 miles away, unless you happen to live in Portland, Oregon, Columbus, Ohio, or Pasadena, California.  Those cities are the home of one or more of the new urban "homestead stores."* 

Of course, there have always been general stores, country stores, feed stores, farmers exchanges & mercantiles.  For example, Dalton, Ohio has always been the home of Lehman's, the world's largest (we assume) non-electric hardware store.

Gayle Starbuck (in red apron) with students at Portland Homestead Supply

But, the new homestead stores are geared for selling supplies and teaching some or all of the following: canning & preserving, cheese & yogurt making, pickling, wine, beer & cider making, gardening, beekeeping, grinding bulk grains, making soap and raising chickens, ducks & goats.

Gayle Starbuck lives in Portland and she has been teaching classes at Portland Homestead Supply Co. (as well as at her own business, Curds on the Whey.  She leads workshops in wine vinegar making, cheese making and sourdough bread baking.  She also sells her own kits at the store.  She told us,

"Homesteading stores and classes are all over here in Oregon. It's the latest thing, and they are wildly popular shops for customers to go to for everything you can think of relating to homesteading. Everyone is putting a little chicken coop, etc. (bee's, goats, veg. garden and more) in the backyard.

Cheese making classes seem to be one of their most popular classes. Home preserving, soap making, plus more are also very popular - lots of back-to-basics stuff. "

Portland Homestead Supply Co.
Portland Homestead Supply Co.
Gayle Starbuck's kits which she sells at Portland Homestead Supply Co.

Colabrese Old General Store in Thomas, West Virginia
Online "Stores"

Chances are you don't live in any of the cities we just mentioned, so you might turn to online stores.  Here, the situation is a little bit different.  There are all kinds of homestead websites, but they may not be the best choice.

Actual stores offer the convenience of one-stop shopping for all your back-to-basics needs.  But, many of the online homestead stores offer nothing more than high prices without much help and support.  We think it's worth it to take each skill separately and buy from the longtime experts in each field.

*  New Homestead Stores

City Folk's Farm Shop
4760 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio

Portland Homestead Supply Co.
8012 SE 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202

Urban Farm Store
2100 SE Belmont Street
Portland, Oregon  97214

Urban Homestead Supply & 
Front Porch Farm Stand
631 Cypress Ave.
Pasadena, California  91103-2905


Julia said...

I love this! I wish I could open one

jenyatb said...

There is a great Homestead supply store here in Ben Lomond, California. It's called Mountain Feed and Farm Supply ( I bought my first cheesemaking kits there and I got hooked!

Jeri said...

Great! Thanks for the info.