Stone Hollow Farmstead brings its popular cheeses and specialty foods to a new outpost in Harpersville.
In 1999, Deborah Stone opened Stone Hollow Farmstead, an 80-acre farm in the rural confines of Harpersville. Childhood memories of growing up on a farm, and watching her grandparents run a sustainable farm and grocery store, left Deborah yearning to give her daughters the same opportunity – to care for the land with which their family had been entrusted, to raise healthy animals and to enjoy the products nature granted them for their hard work.
“What I had learned as a child – the canning, preserving, how to grow – I wanted my children to know that. I wanted to see it make a comeback,” she says. “Now, I want to share that lifestyle with people. The idea behind the farm is to share it with the community.”
Since its beginning, the Farmstead has become well-known for its fine cheeses, honey and specialty foods, as well as its skincare products. To extend the farm’s reach beyond Shelby County, Deborah opened The Pantry, a farmstead mercantile and artisan grocery store, in Crestline Village. The Pantry’s assortment of Stone Hollow Farmstead eggs, milk, jams, jellies, preserves, pickled items, honey and goat cheeses did so well that Deborah decided it was time to open another branch of the Farmstead somewhere she felt needed the same type of specialty store; a place at which seasonal, local produce, baked goods, preserves and straight-from-the-farm grocery items are readily available. In February, she and her team opened The FarmStand at the corner of Alabama 25 and U.S. 280 in Harpersville.
“We have had an unbelievable response from the local community,” she says. “A lot of people are excited we’re here. It’s been a beautiful thing to see them come in.”
As its name implies, The FarmStand is a convenient spot for picking up seasonal produce and a variety of other farm-fresh items. Pickled items like okra (which, Deborah says, is in constant demand), fruit preserves and infused vinegar and olive oil are continually stocked. Specialty cheese and charcuterie boards can be assembled, and a tasting table allows you to sample different things before buying items. “We really like to show off the yummy stuff we make,” Deborah says. “This is an outpost to give people access to the farm.”
In addition, flowers from the Farmstead can be arranged into bouquets that can be delivered in boxes or picked up from The FarmStand. Flower sales will resume in February, Deborah says, and plans for a dahlia shed on the property next door, as well as you-pick flower gardens, are in the works for 2019.
Most items at The FarmStand, including Stone Hollow Farmstead’s Botaniko Skin Care products, can be included in gift boxes that can be picked up or shipped. With football season in full swing, Deborah and her team want people to associate The FarmStand with a one-stop shop for tailgating items, such as their signature Bloody Mary Mix.
Deborah’s daughter, Alexandra, oversees marketing and graphic design for the company, and she curates the gift boxes in the Farmstead’s Lifestyle Gifting program. Boxes can be assembled for new parents, new home owners, newlyweds, friends and anyone celebrating occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, with artisan items like Stone Hollow Farmstead Cannery and Botaniko products. The boxes change seasonally and can fit any budget, Deborah says.
The FarmStand’s produce and plant offerings change according to the season, and the fruits and vegetables that come from the Farmstead are supplemented with produce from other Alabama farms. “Anything that doesn’t come from us comes from local farmers,” Deborah says. “We encourage people to try things.”
The FarmStand carries packaged, dry, jarred, frozen and baked goods come from Hinkel’s Bakery, Bunch Bakeshop (gluten-free baked goods), Big Spoon Roasters, Lark Fine Foods, Bee’s Knees Food Company, Hunter Cattle Company, Dirt Road Gourmet, Dayspring Dairy and others. And customers will find miscellaneous items like Helen Kaminski hats, FlashPoint candles and cloth utility bags in the store.
The FarmStand is an outpost for Community Supported Agriculture, a program that brings organic and healthy produce from Stone Hollow Farmstead and other local farms to your kitchen each week. The program starts in March each year, and membership is divided into four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Shares can be purchased by season or annually. Every Tuesday during the 10-week program, members’ shares of produce and food items are prepared for pickup at The FarmStand and The Pantry. The shares are accompanied by recipes and a weekly update from the Farmstead on the Tuesday Table blog. “Anybody can participate in it,” general manager and culinary specialist Jennifer Cantu says. “This helps people explore some fun options in cooking.”
The FarmStand is just the next exciting milestone in the life of the Farmstead, where the staff’s work has resulted in honors like Stone Hollow Creamery placing second in the American Cheese Society’s Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese Category in 2011, and placing second in this year’s contest for its goat feta. Next on the agenda is the launch of a new line of plant-based clinical products called Stone Hollow Apothecary.
The FarmStand’s October offerings include: assorted pumpkins and gourds, winter squash, summer squash, frozen peas and beans, tomatoes, okra, salad greens, salad dressings, fall bouquets, dahlias, mums, holiday wreaths, holiday decorations, bloody mary mixes, jams, jellies, preserves, canned heirloom, tomatoes, pickles, goat feta, chevre, cheese boards, artisan cheeses, spreads, assorted beverages, ice cream, gift boxes, fresh artisan bread and pastries, hen and duck eggs and Dirt Road Casseroles.
More information about The FarmStand can be found at stonehollowfarmstead.com and on the Stone Hollow Farmstead Facebook page.