A Honey mini-Farm Stand

I’ve had bees for over 10 years now and I’ve sold honey at farmers markets, craft fairs, colleges, contra dances, and special events. One of the best places to sell is right from home. After a while you start getting repeat customers. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to buy my honey, so I thought, “why not a mini farm stand”

My first thought was something like the Little Free Libraries that some people have in their yards. The problem with that would be with no sidewalk, the snow gets plowed fairly deeply in my front yard. I decided to go with a box mounted directly to the house by the front door. It would be easily accessible and visible from the road.

I had a few unassembled deep hive bodies from Betterbee in my workshop so I thought, why not use one for my honey stand. I figured that would be the easiest way to go, but it still took a bit of work to come up with a finished product. Often, when I do a project like this, I don’t have a set plan. It just kind of evolves, which usually works out okay, but sometimes there are things you miss.

 

I started out by dry assembling the hive body to see how I would need to alter it to serve the purpose. I determined it would work best horizontally and should be angled on top for water runoff and have one shelf. I set one end piece on the saw at what looked to be a good angle, then clamped a few boards on the saw table to act as stops. This would allow me to cut both end pieces to the same size and angle.     Cutting the angle on each end piece. Mine ended up around 8 degrees. Be sure to do a mirror image so that both handholds end up on the outside.

The ends are originally rabbetted about 5/8 ” deep for frames to set on. I decided to make them 3/4″ and also rabbett the sides to match so that 3/4″ pine boards would fit recessed flush in the back of the box.

 Once the rabbets were cut I reassembled and measured for the back boards which ended up being 19 1/8 inches long. I cut those to fit from some pieces of pine and set them in place, then marked the angle and cut on the table saw to match the roof slope.

Marking the end piece for angle cut

Next I took the various honey jar sizes I would be selling and marked the sides for shelf placement. Larger jars would fit in the bottom and smaller ones on the shelf. I set a 3/4″ thick piece of scrap on top of the tallest jar, then made a mark on top of the scrap piece. This would be the bottom of the shelf slot, leaving 3/4″ clearance above.

Measuring for shelf placement

I cut dados in the end pieces to accept the shelf. The shelf was 8 inches deep which was recessed about 13/16″ from the front to allow for the doors to close flush. After test fitting the shelf I cut a piece 9 3/4″ by 23″ for the roof. Before assembly, I also cut 3/4″ deep rabbetts in the ends for the doors, and a slight angle along the inside front of the bottom piece so any water would run off. This step was probably not really necessary.

Shelf and roof

End view showing a slight angle along the inside edge of the bottom for water runoff. It also makes sure there is room for the doors to close.

These parts, with the exception of the roof could now be assembled. Time to make the doors and a money box. My opening ended up being just about 18-1/4″ by 13-1/4″ I cut two doors 12-7/8″ by 9-7/16″.   Yes, 2 times 9-7/16 is 18-7/8 inches, but after cutting a 3/8″ deep by 3/4″ wide rabbett in one side of each door, they would overlap when closed and there would be plenty of clearance space for opening and closing.

Rabbett cut on one side of each door allows for overlap when closed

I cut a couple of scrap pieces to make the money box. The side attaches throught the back and the shelf. The front hinges down to open, and a small hinge on the side allows for locking. You could also just place a small box on the shelf for money.

Top view of money box. Roof will cover opening.

1/4″ x 2 1/4″ money slot. The front opens down for retrieving cash and checks.

I cut a strip of wood 3/4″ by 7/8″ to place across the top inside to act as a door stop. Finally we will put the roof on and paint.

I bought a roll of the white aluminum trim you see on houses to make outer covers for my hives. I’ve discovered it comes in handy of a myriad of projects. I used it to make the electronics box cover and pulley guard when I motorized my extractor. It’s easy to cut and bend. I cut a pc big enough to bend  over on the back and completely fold over in the front and sides& so that there were no sharp edges.  It is attached on the sides and back and the front overhangs to box by about 2-1/2 inches. I did all of the painting on my box before attaching the metal roof.

Folded overhang for the front

 notches for the back and sides.

 

Now it’s time to paint. Use an exterior primer and a couple coats of your finish color. It will have to stand up to year round weather.  I had some yellow left over from another project. It stands out well on my brown house. I painted the entire box, inside and out with an extra coat anywhere there was end grained wood exposed, such as the top and bottom edges of the doors.

Once the paint dries, mount your box in an appropriate spot. Mine fit nicely right underneath my “Pure Honey For Sale” sign.  Be sure to post pictures and a message on the social media of your choice. I used facebook and asked my friends to share. Within a few days I had my first customers.

Also, be sure to keep your honey store stocked at all times. You wouldn’t want someone to make the drive over, only to find an empty box. I also tell people if they see my car here, don’t be afraid to knock on the door or walk around back. I’m always willing to chat and share a cup of coffee or tea. After all, one of the best parts of selling honey is the social aspect.

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About Beekeeping in the Berkshires

Here at Berkshire Farms Apiary we've been keeping bees and making honey since 2005, with hives in most of the surrounding towns. We also make pure beeswax candles, lip balm, and hand salve, as well as give presentations. As secretary of the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, I am very active in the local beekeeping community.
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