Kitschen Bakery and a Farm Stand Shed
July 2, 2020 Customer Stories
The path to discovering one’s passion and finding a fulfilling outlet for that passion is different for each individual. But some people’s journey is especially unique. That is definitely the case for Katy Porter-Conley, owner of Kitschen Bakery.
We became acquainted with Katy in 2019 when she came into our office, shopping for a shed to use as a farm stand for her business. We were intrigued with her shed usage and business, so we decided to follow up with her recently as a customer to feature on our blog. We’re glad we did. Here is the story of Kitschen Bakery.
Katy has always enjoyed baking. She grew up in a family culture where homemade baked goods were appreciated, especially when it was a rich shoo-fly pie made with a pie crust from an old family recipe. The reward of seeing others enjoy her baked creations fueled the hobby for Katy, constantly motivating her to try out and perfect new recipes.
This motivation continued to propel her, even while she was pursuing a degree in German studies through grad school. “I would often bring pies and baked goods to school and share them with my classmates,” Katy recalls. “I soon realized that I liked baking better than my grad studies.” We’re pretty certain none of her classmates complained about this preference. ?
So, after finishing graduate school, Katy found herself teaching cooking classes for children in Columbus rather than pursuing a career in the translation of German medieval literature. And she loved it! She also continued to bake and began to sell her products at the farmers market in Columbus as a side gig. And that is how her business, Kitschen Bakery, started.
Katy’s life took a bit of a turn when she and her husband decided to purchase a small 2 acre property in Raymond after getting married. Originally, their plan was for Katy to continue traveling down to Columbus for farmers markets while using the new property to grow some of her own fresh ingredients for her baked goods. But things didn’t quite work out that way. “It was a terrible idea,” says Katy. “I ended up having some health issues and everything had to slow down. It got to the point where I needed to find a way to pace myself and define my own hours.”
That’s when she got the inspiration to set up a farm stand using a shed on their property to sell her products. “I thought that would be a way to set my own pace and avoid the pressures of going to the farmers market in Columbus,” Katy said.
She and her husband went shopping for a shed.
Before coming to Beachy Barns, they checked out two other shed dealers. But poor experiences with sales staff made them keep looking. Katy’s in-laws, who own a 20+ year-old Beachy Barns shed, recommended that they come check us out (now that’s the type of in-laws we like). So, they came by our office to see what we could do for them. “We went to Beachy Barns and worked with Shannon and it was Awesome!” said Katy. “He listened to everything I wanted. It was an easy decision after meeting with him.”
We worked with Katy and her husband to make sure they got the features they needed for their farm stand shed, including a specific door placement and a color that blended well with their property. After building their custom quaker shed, we delivered it to their farm property. That’s when the real magic happened…the shed-turned-farm-stand was filled with some of the best baked goods around, as well as a sampling of garden produce and other homemade organic products. The Kitschen Bakery farm market opened to the public in August of 2019.
What Products Does Kitschen Bakery Offer?
Katy offers a variety of items for sale through her business. Pies, sweet rolls, and breads are some of her standard items, but these items take different shapes throughout the year depending on which fruits, vegetables, and herbs are in season. She also uses their farm products to make a variety of jams and jellies.
She and her husband have a tightly managed organic farm operation on their 2 acres where she grows many of the fresh ingredients that she uses in her baked goods. If you walk around the property, you’ll find apple trees, berry bushes, rhubarb, herb beds, a corn field (new this year), and more items growing.
As they’ve developed their farm, they started having excess produce that they also have available at different times of the year for their customers to purchase.
One of the newest additions to the farm are chickens that were acquired this Spring. Katy is hoping to use the eggs from the chickens in her baking when they start laying and then will sell any excess eggs to her customers.
“What Passions and Principles Drive You in Your Business?”
When we asked Katy this question, she said that “the number one thing is that we try to support the local food system.” She has developed close relationships with other farmers and local businesses to provide items that she cannot grow herself. Katy reports that these relationships have been a delight for her. The friendships that have come from this are a blessing that she doesn’t take for granted.
Another passion of Katy’s is sustainable, organic farming practices. All her products are grown and made in line with these passions. Katy also loves to teach others about these things. Having the farm stand at her house has provided unique opportunities for interacting with and teaching customers. It’s not unusual to have some garden items growing in the two raised beds in front of the farm shed. When customers with kids come, Katy loves to take the opportunity to teach them about the plants and let them choose some items to take home with them. Other times there may be demo projects inside the farm stand, teaching about composting, different herb varieties, etc… Katy also planned to teach gardening classes at a local senior citizen center this spring, but COVID-19 delayed those plans. She still hopes to see this happen in the future and dreams of incorporating raised garden beds for the senior citizens to garden in. She also hopes to develop more public educational programs for the local community going foward.
This love of teaching highlights one of the main passions that drives Katy in her business: relationships. Bringing joy to others brings us joy is a mantra for Kitschen Bakery. Just hearing Katy talk about her business made this very clear. “I really like chatting with the people that I get to know through the business,” Katy said. “It’s not unusual for folks to come by to purchase something and we hang out and chit chat, sometimes for an hour.”
Of course, these relationships have taken on new dimensions in the past few months during the COVID-19 crisis. Service at the farm stand went down to drive-thru service only and her plans to sell at the Union County Farmers Market were delayed for quite awhile. This has definitely impacted business for Katy.
But rather than sitting around idle and moaning the blues, she adapted and found ways to stay busy. When the local grocery store shelves ran out of bread, Katy started baking. “I had a lot of flour and I had a lot of time, so I figured I might as well make bread,” said Katy. She placed the bread in a box on their porch and people could just come by and pick it up anytime they needed any on a donation basis. She has also kept herself busy sewing masks for people to buy. These have also been available on a donation basis with all proceeds going to the local hospital.
Now that the Union County Farmers Market is open for business again, Katy is able to reconnect with her customers there and business is slowly starting to pick back up. Customers can also custom order items on the Kitschen Bakery website or call up Katy to get some of her delicious items. Her hours for the farm stand are still a little “weird” so if you want to swing by for a visit to pick up something, be sure to give her a call or check out her Facebook page for the latest hours and current product offerings.
Here at Beachy Barns, we’re quite proud to have one of our sheds playing a unique role in this small, local business. We enjoyed our interactions with Katy, and wish her the best as she continues to pursue her dreams. And don’t forget to check out Kitschen Bakery next time you’re craving cupcakes, salivating for sweet rolls, or pining for a peach pie. We’re confident that you won’t regret it.