Blogger, online shop owner, and homestead maven Natalie Freeman invites us into her home for a seasonally inspired gathering with friends
(Chalkboard art by Arkansas-based graphic designer Janna Wilson.)
“It was not in our blood to do this,” laughs Natalie Freeman when asked about her life on a small hobby farm in Fayetteville. Neither she nor her husband Luke planned to be raising organic fruits and vegetables and tending to a flock of egg-laying hens. Rather, the life seemed to pick them. After falling hard for gardening and a more simplistic lifestyle in college, the couple eventually purchased a farm, which they now lovingly refer to as Freckled Hen Farm. Here, with approximately 1,000 square feet of garden space and a flock of 60 hens, they run a subscription-based produce and egg business—the goings-on of which Natalie shares on her widely read blog, Natalie Creates.
The charming scenes of serene farm life, salvaged or reinvented home décor, and the passion the two share for this way of life have all culminated in a following, which led Natalie to open an Etsy store where she sells planting calendars, reversible headbands (which she says are perfect for those times when you are working in the garden and need to pull your hair back), and miniature flags, known as Happy Flags, for bouquets or party décor. The business has been such a success that she left a full-time position in mid 2014 to tend her blog, shop, and—of course—the farm. “I think a lot of people aspire to live this cute farmhouse dream, but they think they have to have a million dollars to do it, and we are a testament that you don’t,” she says of their endeavors. “We live a simple life, but we’re having a rich experience.”
As the young couple continues to follow their passion, they have plans for expansion in the works. Beginning in March, Natalie’s current Etsy store will close and the products will fold into a new online marketplace, Freckled Hen Farmhouse (read more about this on page 32). They have also rented a studio space in downtown Fayetteville where they will fill orders and hold monthly pop-up shop events that will be open to the public. Natalie says the new shop will be “reminiscent of the past and the way our grandparents did things.” Much like the rest of their lives, it will revolve around the simple pleasures of the farm, gardening, and gathering with loved ones.
She gave us a glimpse inside one such gathering that included a small group of close friends who were coming together to celebrate the start of planting season. On this day, Natalie served a fresh salad of mixed greens with strawberries, red onion, and honey-roasted sunflower seeds on blue-and-white plates from local retailer Euna Mae’s. The salad was topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe at right). After lunch, she shared an assortment of seeds, which were then put together in a seed starter kit as a party favor for her guests. Her hope is that the kit will allow them to enjoy a similar salad harvested from their own gardens.
Follow Natalie and Luke’s farm adventures and learn more about their new online home provision and farm supply store, Freckled Hen Farmhouse—which launches this March. Be sure to stay tuned for monthly pop-up events at their Fayetteville studio, as well. (Blog: nataliecreates.com | Instagram: @nataliecreates | Online Shop: freckledhenfarmhouse.com)