Kayla Borgen prepares for the reopening of a farmstand on the old Lindbeck Farm property in West Salem. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Kayla Borgen and Robert Lauer weren’t looking for a new home when they stumbled across a listing for the old Lindbeck farm in west Salem. But as the adage goes - when you know, you know.
They learned about the history of the farmhouse, which was built around 150 years ago and used as a working orchard until it was purchased by developers a few years ago. The couple asked around and heard from Salem residents that they used to visit the adjacent farm stand and U-Pick as kids and pick out peaches.
“We had owned our home in West Linn,” Borgen said. “We weren’t ready to buy a house, but we knew the house was for us.”
The husband and wife had been thinking recently about what they wanted from their lives. They’d moved from Michigan to the Portland area in 2019.
Lauer, a wine and cider maker, wanted to get involved in the Oregon winery industry. Borgen, who ran a marketing and design firm, was able to continue working in her field from the West Coast.
But when Covid hit shortly after they arrived in Oregon, they were forced to reassess their priorities.
“With the pandemic and everything that went on, it was kind of a wakeup call to us on what it is we wanted to do if nothing is available. And kind of challenge ourselves to focus on all the things we wanted to do with our hands,” Lauer said.
Locally produced produce and items will be featured at Botaneity when it reopens. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Enter the old farm property. Previously purchased and restored by Carolyn Lindbeck, it had operated as a community produce provider starting in 1967. Lindbeck died in 2015. Most of the surrounding land was purchased by developers and transitioned into apartment housing.
But the farmhouse and produce stand remained. Lauer and Borgen closed on the property in January 2021 and got to work restoring the it to its former glory.
They began planting gardens in what was left of the grounds and deep-cleaning the outbuilding, which they suspect was used by the last owners for car repair. They also got to work on the farmhouse itself, a renovation that’s still ongoing. Right now, they’re building a nursery - they’re expecting their first child, a boy, in August.
“I ripped out almost a whole house’s worth of shiplap to try to bring the house back to its proper aesthetic, which is 1870. There was a lot of undoing that had to be done before we could start doing,” Borgen said.
Kayla Borgen and Robert Lauer purchased the old Lindbeck Farm on Orchard Heights Road in West Salem and are preparing to reopen an adjacent farmstand that once operated there. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
They’d opened up the farm stand in a limited capacity in the late summer and fall of 2021, operating just a couple of tables from the porch. But this season, they plan to fully reopen the space to the public.
The stand - now under the name of the couple’s brand, Botaneity - will officially open Thursday, April 21. It will feature produce, baked goods, locally-sourced floral arrangements, candles, eggs from the couple’s own chickens, and wine from Lauer’s label. His current release is a pinot noir rosé. This fall, he said he plans to bottle a red pinot noir along with a few sparkling wines.
The couple’s vision, Borgen said, is to create a community gathering place for both customers and vendors.
“Making these connections, and bringing them all into one place,” Borgen said. “Especially in west Salem - there’s lots of very charming places downtown, but in west Salem, there’s not a lot of places that feel like a community.”
They’re also hoping that this is just Botaneity’s first step. They aim to eventually extend the company with a similar outpost in Portland. Also on the checklist: purchasing more grapes, moving production of Botaneity wine on-site to the Salem property, and hopefully integrating their wine into the region’s restaurants.
“This is what we’re calling kind of Phase One, but we’d really like to keep working and build upon the concept of Botaneity,” Borgen said. “It is kind of step one of what feels like 100 steps ahead of us.”
Botaneity will hold a grand opening celebration 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 23. The farm stand is located at 1417 Orchard Heights Rd. N.W.
Kayla Borgen checks on chickens who will help produce fresh eggs sold at the farmstand. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Small batch canned goods and specialty food items will be sold at Botaneity. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
Locally raised farm fresh eggs and Botaniety’s own label wine will be sold at the farmstand. (Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)
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