August 22, 2022 by Jailin Harris-Putulin
How Hitchman Homestead All Began…
Hitchman Homestead is a family-owned business that started quite literally overnight. Genelle and Todd Hitchman create beautiful works of “Pioneer Art” catering to Pioneer enthusiasts who may be intimidated by the usual large, intricate wagons.
American Pioneers used wagon trains dating back to 1717 to transport supplies, animals, and people. Through transportation, they created communities and eventually a system that improved their livelihood.
Todd’s background in building began at the young age of 13. He used his experiences working for a small-town business to hone his craft and strengthen his skills. By 21, Todd obtained his Contractors License, built himself a home, and began a home building company. Todd used his experiences to become a Master-Carpenter, building beautiful homes and a respected reputation in California’s Silicon Valley.
Genelle grew up with a childhood always involving backyard chickens. Some of her happiest memories were with her Grandpa collecting eggs from his chicken coop. Her whole life she dreamt of living the homestead lifestyle and having her own flock of laying hens. She was able to live out these dreams when the Hitchmans moved their family from California to Texas and began developing their own homestead.
Hitchman Homestead was a stroke of genius idea created by Todd Hitchman. Shortly after moving to their forever home in Texas, Genelle started a flock of chickens. The home for the chickens was a small chicken tractor (mobile coop) that held the chickens and the supplies that are used for them. The Hitchmans loved having chickens but did not like how they and their supplies looked in the yard. Todd expressed that he wished there was something that could make the chickens more appealing to the eye. That very night, Todd brainstormed the first ever “Cluck Wagon”. He created a mobile coop disguised as a more aesthetically appealing pioneer wagon. Genelle loved what he built and posted it to her Chicken Coop Groups on Facebook and by the following day, her inboxes were flooded with order requests. Following the positive feedback she received, Genelle made a website and social media pages and before they knew it, Hitchman Homestead was born.
The Hitchman’s story represents their own family’s version of a true Pioneer Journey.
Mission & Goals
Hitchman Homestead represents Todd and Genelle’s (and their children’s) talents in many ways. They not only sell wagons but also baked goods, coffee, produce, and much more! Their motivation is their love for supplying their community with all the supplies and resources it needs. Their goal for their business is to maintain the quality and attention to detail that goes into every one-of-a-kind work of art. They have created a business that compares to no other. Todd and Genelle have worked hard to develop and maintain a building and shipping process for their products to guarantee the best quality and services.
Hitchman Homestead’s Products/Services
With the help of customer requests, the Hitchmans have created 10+ design builds to fit all types of needs.
Upper Trail Wagon – Happy chickens lay better eggs. Spoil your flock with their top-of-the-line Pioneer wagon-turned Chicken Tractor. Hide your chickens from the HOA – or just make your neighbors jealous with this unique coop and run-in-one setup. Functional, beautiful art for your yard that even the HOA won’t mind!
Goodnight Wagon – Dream of the Wide Open West from this adorable twin bed. Configured for indoor & outdoor use – steel frame & modular construction breaks completely down for easy setup anywhere with ordinary hand tools. Lower the bonnet & camp out in comfort. Stash your trail gear in the included toy box. Flip-down steps give a boost to a bitty-pioneer & a slide-out drawer turns your wagon into a bed/dresser combo.
Crossroad Wagon – Super Cute setup for Farmer’s Market or Farm-Stand. Add a major wow factor to your vending display & attract more customers. Locking cash box – Multilevel Display shelving. Corrugated metal roofing with the gutter to keep the weather off your wares. Lined and laced bonnet to keep out the weather – end panels to button ‘er up tight when closed.
Old West Crates – Created to compliment the Goodnight Wagon bed. This dresser is comprised of five standalone, modular crates designed to look like the trail cargo of the wagon-train era. This piece is customizable for your preference & needs.
Coffee – When the Hitchmans moved into their Texas home it came with a “Shooter Shack” on a rifle range, formerly used by the local Sheriff for deputy training. Todd converted this Shooter Shack into a coffee roastery and they began making coffee. Every batch of coffee is hand roasted over a gas grill. The Hitchmans source their green coffee beans from an importer in Tomball, Texas, that has a farm in Honduras. Over time, they have perfected roasts in six different origins including an espresso blend and a water-based decaf blend.
The coffee is available at local stores including – The Hunt Store, Wolf Creek Mercantile, Jellystone Park, and Kerrville Visitors Center. For non-locals, you can get a taste of homestead life anytime by ordering coffee on their website.
Baked Goods – All of the Hitchman’s bakery items are made by hand out of their homestead kitchen – so it does not ship. Locals can order directly via the website or phone – and Genelle custom bakes their creations and delivers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Hitchmans also cater events, serving anything from breakfast kolaches (pigs in a blanket) to soft pretzels or wedding cakes – usually out of one of their own wagons!
The one exception to the no-shipping rule is Genelle’s dehydrated, wild sourdough starter “Jareth.” This package is shipped across the country to Sourdough novices – who ‘mix it up’ and use the included directions for creating their own Pioneer bread.
Life on the Hitchman Homestead Farm
The Hitchman family is very passionate about sustainable agriculture. Their livestock, kitchen scraps, garden, and coffee waste all contribute to a compost pile – which supplies their raised bed garden & greenhouse with rich soil. The garden produces the food that feeds their family and animals and completes the cycle. Nothing goes to waste. They also have a rainwater collection system (since Texas is prone to drought) that waters the garden. Genelle only uses organic methods of pest control – crop rotation, companion planting, and judicious use of Neem Oil and BT. One fun fact about their farm is their livestock troughs and rainwater collection are stocked with goldfish, which is a fantastic natural method of mosquito control.
Produce – The produce from their quarter-acre raised-bed garden goes mostly to their own family. A lot of things grow in the Hill Country Climate – depending on the season there may be corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, squash, melons, and all kinds of culinary and medicinal herbs.
Chickens and Turkeys – The Hitchmans raise Cornish cross chickens and Bourbon Red Heritage turkeys for meat. Their meat flocks are pasture raised in hand-made tractors. Spring through fall they typically have 20 birds growing in 4-week harvest cycles. This more than fills their family freezer with pastured poultry while also providing the community with a local source of lean protein.
Shipping With FreightCenter
Hitchman Homestead has partnered with FreightCenter to handle all of their freight shipping needs including the delivery of their handcrafted wagons. This FreightCenter and customer relationship is built on trust due to the delicacy of the wagons. The hard work and attention to detail put into these wagons is valued at FreightCenter. Genelle Hitchman stated, “Of the very few LTL shippers who would even entertain transporting our wagons – Freight Center was the most engaged in answering our questions and problem solving our needs.”
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