Search This Blog

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Trip to The Urban Farm Store

Today was a brew day for Steve, which meant a trip into Portland for supplies from F. H. Steinbart, at SE 12th and Pine.  Since it was in the same neighborhood, and only a matter of a few block's drive, and because I really wanted to go, I had Steve drop me off at the Urban Farm Store, at 2100 SE Belmont.   Even though he was checking out another customer, the friendly proprietor said hello as I came in and I felt immediately welcome, possibly because I liked the looks of the place immediately.

Here is the chicken section of the store- actually, that's not entirely accurate.  Although they have a section for dog and cat food, I would say the large majority of the space is devoted to chickens, probably because they take a lot more equipment than regular pets.

But they had chicks!  And the constant peeping was, what's the word....enchanting. Completely.  I'm still not sure that chickens are in my future; I really want to understand fully what I'm setting myself up for if I do it.  I'd have to get up with the chickens every morning, and that might be asking a lot from someone who is not a morning person.  Of course, it might be different if I had chickens to look forward to! But I'd have to go, even in the rain and cold and damp, and their coop would have to be mucked out every weekend (wonderful for compost!).  But back to the store.

They have rabbit supplies and pine bedding, (not photographed), and small bales of hay and straw.

They sell coop kits for $175, that only take a little assembly.

They have a great little nursery outside (too early for veggie starts, but they have lots of dormant trees, and even tea camellias (Camellia sinensis) and olive trees!

They have a swell chicken yard with a large coop and dry run, 

and three friendly ladies, who were busy when I took this picture, but came over to see what was shakin' while I was there.

I was very glad to see organic fertilizers (I bought two different kinds of fertilizer with mycorrhizal fungus and humic acid) and even more glad to see bulk soil amendments, like bone and blood meal, and rock phosphate.  I bought some bone meal, since things are pretty young right now, but now I know where to go for the rock phosphate I'll want to add later when I plant the beds.  Rock phosphate is important for making fruits and vegetables taste even better.

There were lots of different seed stands- one that had quite beautiful antique pictures and print for the heirloom seeds inside the packets, and fun posters and feed sacks on the walls.  

I really liked the place.  I think the only thing that they might think about adding are some tools (trowel, shovels, hoes, manure forks, and the like), a collection of work gloves, and possibly wheelbarrows and garden carts.  Maybe some of those stool things for geezers to sit on while they weed - don't worry,  I'm one of them and I'm going to buy one this year!  They might also think about drip irrigation gear.  I realize that a lot of this stuff can be had from the large mega-hardware store outfits, but it would be convenient for city folk to find this stuff there.

All in all, a great way to spend a half hour, and I know I'll be back. Maybe for chicks, who knows?


Toni aka irishlas said...

That's a great store.
For the record, I'm thinking of one of those roll around seats you can store tools in underneath to help with my gardening chores this year. I guess that counts me in the geezer set!
I will say one thing about early rising to take care of the chickens - I have spent most mornings actually enjoying the sights and sounds around me because it is so quiet. Like walking meditation. I have come to love it!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Hi Paula!
This was a fascinating post to me for so many reasons!
You went to the Urban Farm Store!! I've been hearing about this place for a while, but I loved seeing your pics and reading your review! I rarely get over to the eastside of Portland (I'm a die-hard westside girl - lol) but after seeing your pics, I def need to make a trip out there. talk about all those soil amendments like you know them and understand them!! (sighhhhhh) I'm just starting to read about many of those things, but I know NOTHING really and would love to know more. (Rock phosphate makes fruit and veggies taste better?!!)
Did you buy any seeds?
It really looks like a delightful place, though possibly quite spendy.
This comment is too long, isn't it - more thing.
I'm not a morning person either. Never have been. Never will be. And I *love* my chickens. Can't imagine my life without them. ...Just sayin'. :-)

Paula said...

I did not buy any seeds, although I was sorely tempted. The knowledge of soil amendments comes from lots and lots of research. When I can identify plant diseases or what insect is doing the damage and know what to do about it, then you can be impressed. I do have some information on my 15Nov09 post entitled Best Darn Thing For Your Planet: Biochar, which should be interesting to you.

Urban Farm Store was kind of spendy- they wanted $14.95 for a bale of pine shavings, which I thought a bit high. There's a Coastal Farm and Ranch about five minutes from us (but I don't think they do chicks) and a Wilco further south in Oregon City, so I'm not hurting for farm stores. As with anything, you have to shop and know what stuff costs, as well as factor in the gas it takes to get to these places.

But Urban Farm Store was still a gas to go check out!

So that's two votes for chickens. Well, I have a couple of books out from the library so I'm researching that, too. No commitments yet, but I"m interested. It was twenty=eight this morning, and I did think that if I had chickens, I'd have to go out and take care of them in that cold....

Long comments just fine with me (obviously :^)

cathy said...

We just got chickens a month ago, and we've been to Naomi's and the Urban Farm Store frequently. (I also prefer UFS and also prefer to get ammendments in bulk at Concentrates.)

The chickens are changing me. It's a wonder how they help inspire me to work with them in the mornings. They're very helpful in keeping me focused on my garden work, too.