The Farmyard has become a destination for families to experience hands-on activities with local agriculture and the farmers growing their food.
2016 Renée Wilson and her father, Steve, started a small roadside stand in September. Renée had graduated from college and it was time to diversify their family’s fourth-generation dairy farm. The “little” roadside stand began with a few animals, hayrides, pumpkins and endless passion for connecting people with farming.
2017-2019 The Farmyard began to grow with produce and other agriculture product sales, opened garden plots, planted sunflower patches, started hosting events, created programs for children and built The Farmyard Freeze snowball stand. The family made it free for the public to visit the farm during their hours of operation and created a sponsorship program to help offset the cost of the animals. They also created a Chore Chart Program for children to assist with caring for animals and learning the responsibilities of life on a farm. A team of volunteers began to form and The Farmyard continued to cultivate a relationship with the community. Texas Roadhouse – Hunt Valley and other businesses became interested in working with The Farmyard and partnering for events.
2020 During the pandemic, The Farmyard offered at-home educational packets for kids and created Farm School, an outdoor series of classes for children to continue to learn and socialize safely. The stand allowed customers to purchase pyo flowers and enjoy local agriculture without any human interaction. The Farmyard hosted the first American Landscape Institute Plant Sale Fundraiser and since 2020 has helped to raise over $20,000 for the non-profit. Baltimore Bee Company partnered with The Farmyard and placed hives on the property. The first batch of Farmyard honey was sold that summer. In the fall, the on-farm events had better attendance than ever before. Tractor Day had a crowd of more than 550 people who came to see numerous pieces of equipment that were donated for the day by businesses and antique owners in the area.
2021 The Farmyard released its Farmyard Book Series, which offered the opportunity for school assemblies and expanded its field trip options. It also opened an equine department for children to take riding lessons and become more familiar with horses. Over the years, The Farmyard animals have become known by name in the community. Whistle is The Farmyard’s Percheron gelding and seems to captivate everyone’s attention as one of the largest animals on the farm. Customers had access to a more consistent and a fuller line of local produce when The Farmyard partnered with Weber Brothers Produce. The Farmyard planted a small pumpkin patch and 1-acre corn maze with interactive activities.
The community rallied behind the family when the farm underwent a forced sale on December 8th. The Pop-Up Christmas Shop which features horse-drawn carriage rides and a wide range of vendors hit some of its highest numbers. With the support and fundraising from hundreds of local businesses and customers, the Wilsons purchased a neighboring farm and made the decision to rebuild.
On December 31, 2021, members of the community lined the driveway as Steve drove his family off of the home dairy farm for the final time.
2022 (A Rebuild Year) The Farmyard 2.0 grew rapidly. Within ten months, all shelters and sheds that could be moved were brought to the new location, the team built five barns, a riding ring and pastures for all of the animals. Waterlines and electric were installed and Manor View Farm donated and transplanted 13 trees. The Farmyard Freeze was serving snowballs by August and the cornfield had transformed into a better place than the family had imagined. Click HERE to see the rebuild photos.
On November 10th, Renee was selected as a 2022 Horizon Farm Credit Farmers on the Rise Award Recipient. The $10,000 award will be used for the next barn, which will house livestock during the winter.
Family History – Growing up on a 200-acre farm, Renée and her sister, Haley, enjoyed giving farm tours to local schools, serving as advocates for agriculture and bringing their animals to community events. Like many children, animals were a highlight for the girls. They learned valuable life lessons of responsibility, hard work, and animal husbandry.
Their father, Steve, operated the family dairy farm, which at the peak of the business, housed more than 600 animals. He and his wife, Kelly, encouraged the girls to share their love with the community by taking their passion a step forward through The Farmyard and help families develop a love and understanding of farm animals too.
A special thanks to Blessings of Beauty Photography and Dee Prigel Photography for their unending support of The Farmyard. They generously have poured their talents into capturing moments that we never want to forget on this journey.