Julie’s Flagstaff Farmstand
Julie's Flagstaff Farmstand
In the late summer of 1999 I had a life changing event take place. My church family, Flagstaff Christian Fellowship, was hosting six men from around the world. Three were from Asia: Nepal, Pakistan and South Korea, three were from Africa: Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The men were speaking during the week, but time had been reserved to show them the great wonders of Northern Arizona.
The day we went to Grand Canyon, we stopped by my house in Cheshire. We ended up standing in my driveway chatting while waiting for another person to arrive. The men had been talking among themselves and one called me over to ask a question. “Julie, why do all these houses have grass in their front yards? Why aren’t they growing things they can eat?” The six men looked at me expectantly waiting for me to give a rational explanation for what seemed to them incredibly ridiculous. I lamely answered, “It’s just what we do.” As we drove away I looked at my own yard, my neighborhood and eventually my city in a whole different way. Why aren’t we growing food in our front yards?
After the conversation with my international friends, I began to speculate how to use the front yard, especially the area with full sun. I thought about how well squash plants would do there. I was a little nervous because I had NEVER seen vegetables growing in a front yard. Not a single negative comment, yet! People loved it, and commented more about the squash plants that the thousands of flowers! I notice more and more vegetables popping up in front yards all over town.
When I was about to turn 50, in 2002, I thought to myself, “What have I always wanted to do that I have never done before?” I thought, “I want to have a Farmstand on the driveway!” My kids made fun of me all summer long. My daughter told me last year, “Mom, were still making fun of you!” Sales started out slow but increased year after year. Then in 2009 the local Flagstaff newspaper did an article on the Farmstand and featured it on the front page, in the July 4th edition, which they GIVE AWAY, all over town. The Farmstand became famous overnight!
The Flagstaff Farmstand is now entering its 15th season, people come from everywhere in town, and across town, some drive 20 miles! I sell lots of vegetables of all kinds and perennial plant starts that I have an excess of in my yard. I also sell fresh organic eggs and local honey.
I LOVE my Farmstand and all of my wonderful customers. I usually cry at the end of the season. People love coming, taking advantage of the homey atmosphere and self-serve pay can. What they love the most is the free gardening advice! I have made so many new friends, and people have become friends with each other as everyone stands around and visits with one another sharing about gardening, family and life in general.