Hiring at the Portland Homestead Supply

We’re hiring a part-time employee to join our team at the Portland Homestead Supply Company!

Homestead Shop

Our store is located in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland. We’ll be turning 3 years old this June.  In addition to providing equipment and supplies for urban homesteaders, we also offer classes and demonstrations throughout the week. Our scope includes fermentation, canning, cheese, soap, candles, grain grinding, charcuterie, natural cleaning, gardening, and animal feed.

This position is for work Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning May 2nd. It is not a seasonal position. We’re hoping to find someone who works well with our existing team, is excited about homesteading, and plans to stay with the company as we grow. Ideal applicants will have some homesteading experience, a great attitude, and work well both independently and as a team.

 

 

Requirements:

  • Able to work 10am-6pm on Thursday through Saturday and attend staff meetings (paid) from 8:30-9:30am on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Additional hours may be possible in the future.
  • Able to lift 50 lbs unassisted, multiple times per day.
  • Have some knowledge of homesteading skills and excitement to continue learning.
  • Love helping customers with their homesteading projects and answering LOTS of questions.
  • Feel comfortable performing basic animal chores for the shop goats and chickens.
  • Able to be on your feet all day on concrete floors.
  • Able to package chemicals including borax, washing soda, essential oils, etc.

 

Please read through the requirements carefully before applying. If you think you’re a good match, send a resume to portlandhomestead@gmail.com. Please include a cover letter detailing your relevant skills and why you’d like to work at the shop. You’re also welcome to drop the application off in person at 8012 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR. We’ll be accepting applications until Saturday, April 19th and conducting interviews the week of April 20th.


PHS INTERVIEW WITH URBAN FARM HUB

ChickenThe Urban Farm Hub blog posted a short interview with Kristl this month. Check out this link to read a bit more about the Portland Homestead Supply’s beginnings. http://www.urbanfarmhub.org/?p=1183


THE NEW URBAN HOMESTEAD STORES

The New Urban Homestead Stores

Our shop was recently featured in the New England Cheesemaking article about Homestead Stores. Gayle Starbuck from Curds on the Whey teaches our cheesemaking classes and sells kits at the shop. While the article gave a nod to homestead stores in Ohio and California, they mentioned us and the Urban Farm Store as sources for Portland. The article also included some great photos of the shop. Check it out if you have the chance. And thanks New England Cheesemaking!


Sunset Magazine’s Blog – One Block Diet – Features Our Shop

Well, it’s not quite Sunset Magazine, but we’re thrilled to be mentioned in their online blog One Block Diet. Check it out here.

Here’s a little excerpt from the blog:

Posted by: By Sunset, December 17, 2011

By Elaine Johnson, Sunset associate food editor

If you’re interested in canning, fermenting, cheesemaking, sourdough baking, butchering, knife sharpening, animal rearing (chickens, goats, rabbits), beekeeping, gardening, not to mention making your own yogurt, kombucha, freshly ground grain, charcuterie, soap, natural cleaning products (even toothpaste!), dog food, wine, beer, cider, and candles (phew–did I forget anything?), then be sure to stop at Portland Homestead Supply next time you’re in the City of Roses.

I swung by recently and the friendly owners, Kristl and Doug Bridge, showed me around. I’m ready to take up about 12 new hobbies! And with all their classes, I really could.

Portland Homestead Supply


It Takes A Village To Make An Omelet

I know it’s fall in Portland because when I woke up yesterday, it was so dark and the clouds were hanging so low I had to look at the clock to be sure it was morning. It was morning, Sunday morning, the one day a week that I make an effort to cook a nice breakfast for the two of us. I made it to the kitchen with eyes partially shut and that stiff, Frankenstein-like walk that seems to get worse with each year I make it past 45. I had nothing planned, so it meant standing in the middle of the kitchen and looking around to see what I could come up with.

The first thing that caught my eye was the carton of duck eggs from Chris Chulos’ farm near Oregon City. He delivers chicken and duck eggs every Friday to the shop and I’d never tried duck eggs before. I snagged a box before going home Saturday night. There they were, the beige and green eggs staggered in a checkerboard pattern in the carton. Perfect. An omelet it would be. Now, what else…

Last Friday Doug had a day off from school and Martha, our manager, agreed to work the whole day so that Doug and I could go to Newberg and Dundee to do some wine tasting. It was a fabulous day, but the best part of our trip to wine country was the last stop of the day when we drove out to the Beroldingen Farm for fresh goat cheese. It’s a small family farm off NE Bell road in Newberg – not easy to find, but well worth the hunt. As you drive up the driveway, you see a little red and white shed next to the big house. There are chickens wandering everywhere and little pens of goats scattered all over the property. Inside the shed is a small refrigerator and a money box. It’s the honor system, so we make sure to bring enough cash for our goat-cheese habit. Now, I’ve been making goat cheese for a few years from the milk of our little Nigerian Dwarf goats, and we both love our homemade cheese, but the cheeses from Beroldingen are possibly the most delicious goat cheeses I’ve ever tasted. The Chehalem is a mild soft-rind cheese that I tend to favor, but we always get a container of the fresh chevre for cooking – you know, like omelets.

This was a good start – eggs and cheese, but I needed more. Anyone who’s been to the shop and met Doug probably knows that he’s the conversationalist in the family. ‘Nuf said. So it’s probably no surprise that when Doug noticed a couple of guys walking past the store carrying a basket of mushrooms, he had to go chat with them and find out what the deal was with all those mushrooms. Twenty minutes later, we had some new friends and a bunch of chantrelle and bolete mushrooms. Yum – mushroom omelets!

Now we just needed a little extra flavor to help carry but not overpower the mushrooms. Voila – sitting in the onion basket, three beautiful grey shallots that Connor from Diggin’ Roots Farm brought the other night when he came for dinner. Of course, the blueberry wine and Asian pear juice Connor brought were long gone (and much appreciated), but I still had those lovely shallots with their shiny red skins and mild garlicy-onion flavor. Since Connor and his wife Sarah had just finished giving a class at the shop on growing garlic, I knew they were expert Allium growers and that these shallots would be delicious. Yes, the perfect accompaniment for the mushroom and chevre omelet.

Finally, a little of the fresh cow’s milk that we pick up each week from Colleen’s farm in Molalla and some fresh parsley from the neighbor’s garden and there it was, a perfect omelet – with the help of some friends.

The point is that we sometimes tend to equate homesteading with self-sufficiency – the idea that we have to do it all ourselves. But you know, I don’t raise duck eggs, or make amazing goat cheese, or know where to find beautiful chantrelles, or even grow shallots. But I don’t have to do all those things because I’m part of a community that shares such abundance. We each have different abilities and resources to bring to the table. The most important part of homesteading is to actually come to the table, be a part of the community and share what we have to offer. In the long run, it’s the help of friends and neighbors that gets us through the tough times. So get out there and start forging those relationships. And a huge thank you to all the friends that helped make our Sunday omelet. It was delicious!


Oregon Live Features Our Shop

Here’s a little excerpt from the article. Read the entire article here:

Portland Homestead Supply Co., located in Sellwood, opened June 14. Bridge hopes it will serve as a one-stop shop for Portlanders wishing to get back to the basics. The store carries supplies for canning and pickling food and for making soap, candles and laundry-soap. It also carries natural cleaning supplies, garden tools, bulk animal feed, and soil nutrients such as jersey greensand and blood meal.

The store also hosts a range of classes on canning, tool sharpening, butchering, cheese making, and “bath bombs,” orbs of bath salts that immediately start fizzing and disintegrating when they hit the water (they happen to be particularly popular with kids, Bridge reports).

Bridge, who co-owns the business with her husband Doug, estimates that about 100 people visit the shop each day. “We’ve had a wonderful response,” Kristl Bridge says. “More come through the door than we anticipated.”


The Start of a Seed Exchange

It’s reassuring to know that somewhere in the arctic tundra, tucked safely in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault are thousands of seeds ready to share their genetic wealth when the world needs it. I shudder to think of the numbers of native varieties of plants that have become extinct over the years; our genetic diversification becoming that much more narrow. And as important as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the National Plant Germplasm System, and other seed saving systems are, what’s most important is that we, as individuals, start taking the initiative to fight the further loss of genetic diversification.

It sounds like a daunting task, and in a way it really is.   But, when everyone works together, it can be easy and fun. It can be a Seed Exchange!  So we’re calling on all gardeners and farmers to start saving your seeds to share with others.  Here’s how it works: we provide the materials and space, and you provide the genetic diversification.

Beginning in August, we will have a table set up in the garage with various jars, envelopes, bags, labels, spoons, and markers. For those who are new to the art of seed saving, there will be a couple of guides to explain proper seed collection, cleaning, and storage. If you have an abundance of rare, heirloom, or open pollinated seeds, bring some in to share with others.  If you are looking for some seeds to plant in your own garden, come in and take what you need. It’s all free and it’s a great way to expand your garden selection and meet your neighbors. In other words, it’s a win-win.


Answering the Question

On Tuesday morning, June 14, we opened the doors of Portland Homestead Supply Co. quietly, with no fanfare, to see how our shop would be received.  We were, as one customer put it, pretty stealthy about it. On that very first morning, a woman walked in, took a quick look around at the canning jars, cheese molds and grain mills and said, “Who on earth would ever want to do all this stuff. I’m a city girl and we pay people to do this stuff.”

As I frantically tried to fire up a few synapses and come up with a witty answer to her question, she wished me good luck (not a real good luck, but the kind that means ‘good luck you poor fool’), took a sip of her triple caramel macchiato and was gone. So, two and a half weeks later, I thought I would take this, my first blog, as an opportunity to answer the question posed on our first day. I’ve given up on any attempt to be witty, and decided to turn to the most practical and eloquent gentleman on earth and borrow a much overused quote from Wendell Berry and his essay “The Total Economy”:

“What has happened is that most people in our country, and apparently most people in the ‘developed’ world, have given proxies to the corporations to produce and provide all of their food, clothing, and shelter.  Moreover, they are rapidly increasing their proxies to corporations or governments to provide entertainment, education, child care, care of the sick and the elderly, and many other kinds of ‘services’ that once were carried on informally and inexpensively by individuals or households or communities. Our major economic practice, in short, is to delegate the practice to others…The trouble with this is that a proper concern for nature and our use of nature must be practiced, not by our proxy-holders, but by ourselves.  A change of heart or of values without  a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.”

So that is it then. That is why people might want to do all this stuff – as a way to navigate out of our ‘passively consumptive way of life’. That, I guess, is what modern homesteading is all about, and that is why we’re here.

The self-doubt of that first morning evaporated quickly as more people stopped by and shared their enthusiasm for the store and for learning the practical skills of keeping a home. In fact, I’m not sure we could have landed in a more accepting and supportive community. We’re so glad to be here and look forward to meeting all those who are ready to start on this homesteading journey. Happy Homesteading!


Sheumack Brooms

Meet Our Broom Maker

Our Favorite Broom Maker!We are very excited to be carrying Scheumack Brooms at the shop. Thurman Scheumack hand crafts each of his brooms in his studio in Eugene, Oregon. Once a year, Thurman makes a cross-country road trip back home to Arkansas to pick up Sassafras branches harvested by friends who maintain sustainable stands of the hardy trees. He then makes his way to Texas to pick up the broom corn before coming back to Oregon to begin assembling several hundred handcrafted brooms. Read the rest of this entry »