In person customer interviews are a favorite here at Maker Pipe and our most recent venture took us to Granville Lane Farm In Albemarle, NC. Rick, Sandy, and their pup Lilly are repurposing a hog farm with a rich history into a family flower farm. In the tour Rick showed us tons of cool stuff like his DIY cold frame made from EMT Conduit and Maker Pipe!
Granville Lane Farm has been in Rick's family since the early 1930's. His grandfather and father both ran a hog farm on the property up until the 1990's. Now Rick and Sandy own the property and they live inside of a grain silo! Of course now it's repurposed into a home, and it was totally cool. Maybe next time we are in the area we can get a house tour. Farming has its ups and downs and Granville Lane had plenty of hassles throughout its life like natural disasters that wiped out their hog houses killing several hundred pigs. Rick and Sandy are on a mission to bring some life back into the property with their flower farm adventure.
Rick and Sandy have quite the array of flowers from dahlia's to sunflowers! While on the farm we got to see the dahlia and snap dragon field. They recently had their first snap dragon bloom which was really exciting to see. They were thrilled to see the fruits of their labor so to speak. After checking out the dahlia's and snap dragons we looked at the strawberry and blue berry batch where we tried some fresh strawberries. They were delicious!
Last on the tour we got to see Rick's ingenuity at work! The hog farm once had a large manure pit about 60 feet long. Rick used some clever thinking and decided to repurpose the pit into a cold frame that will help protect germinated seeds from harsh weather conditions like frost. He built up the retaining wall, but left it shorter than the back wall so the cold frame top would have a nice angle to catch the sun. With the frame ready, Rick needed a solution for the cover that holds the greenhouse plastic in place. He built a series of rectangle frames that would all be separate and allow for ventilation. Rick didn't stop there with this build! He found an old auger winch on the farm and figured out how to rig the winch to the cold frame pieces that would allow him to raised and lower the cover when need be. It is a really clever solution, and we are glad we got to see it in person.
We had a great time on the farm and are really excited for Rick and Sandy as they continue in their flower farm adventures. Be sure to follow their Instagram or Facebook so you can follow along their journey as they grow (some pun intended). If you want to see Rick's community post you can see it here, and watch the full tour on our YouTube channel. Thanks and happy building!