DIY Horse-Drawn Wagon Is a Ready-to-Roll Bakery Cart

This horse-drawn wagon carries hundreds of loaves and pastries to market without using a drop of gasoline. The Vermont baker who built it believes horse-drawn vehicles can make a comeback, and hopes that he’s started a trend with his handmade delivery wagon.

| June/July 2014

Good Companion Bakery Delivery Wagon At Vergennes, Vt., City Gre

Bobby the horse waits patiently, hitched to the Good Companion Bakery delivery wagon at the farmers market in Vergennes, Vt.

Photo by Erik Andrus

I believe living horse power can be an effective way to transport local food to market, and that more people should adopt this sustainable form of transportation. To bring working animals back to the city streets, I decided to build a commercial horse-drawn wagon in 2010. My project would allow me to sell bread and produce directly from my wagon parked on the City Green of Vergennes, Vt., the town nearest my home.

Building the delivery wagon was fun, and it combined my love of woodworking with my interest in working with animals. The project took many hours and cost about $2,000 in materials. If I were to build a wagon like this on commission, I would probably charge $4,500.

Delivering Local Food With a Bakery Cart

My family operates Good Companion Bakery on our 110- acre farm just outside of Vergennes, Vt. Sustainable transport of our baked goods, produce and meat to market was one of my motivations in building a wagon.

The cargo hold (pictured in the Slideshow) is outfitted with a handmade storage system that allows us to haul 150 pastries, 80 loaves of bread, several boxes of produce and two coolers of frozen meat. We can’t fit that much food in our car! And, unlike our station wagon’s cargo area, which is all curves and wheel wells, I designed the hold of our horse-drawn vehicle to be a perfect match for the type of goods we sell. Every pine cargo crate has good clearance and ventilation, and a shelf with a lip keeps each crate snug on even the bumpiest of rides.

Our wagon is based on plans for a bakery van drawn by John Thompson, a British man who made scale drawings and models of horse-drawn vehicles during the 1920s and ’30s, when gasoline-powered cars and trucks were rendering equine-powered transportation obsolete. Thompson drew plans for all sorts of vehicles, including passenger conveyances, furniture delivery vans, fire engines, hearses and water tankers. I chose Thompson’s historic design for a bakery cart because it seemed the right size for the quantity of goods we would usually take to the farmers market in our car.

Wheel Dealings

The first step in building our horse-drawn wagon was to select the appropriate running gear (wheels and axles). I wanted the real deal — wooden wagon wheels rather than air-filled rubber tires. Wooden wheels last a long time with proper care and look more appropriate on a cart built from a historic design. 

10/20/2014 12:47:36 AM

Talent - obviously not a recycler.... horse poo is great in gardens, run out in the street before others with more knowledge get there before you, use your spade and throw over your veges!! Amazing compost!!

10/20/2014 12:44:12 AM

Jennifer - you need to get over yourself, horses, like humans love to be of service. Its how they are treated which is the main thing. Greenies who think everything and everyone is wrong but them. If the world was perfect it would be totally boring!! You wouldn't have anything to complain about then what would you do????

6/6/2014 2:12:04 PM

This is a terrible idea. Lets not go from abusing the oil reserves to satisfy humans insatiable desires to exploiting more animals. This is a morally reprehensible retrograde step, it's the 21st century, can't we be the sophisticated, ethical beings that we often like to think we are and not barbarians doing whatever we please without thought of the suffering of other species.

6/5/2014 11:58:13 PM

Would there possibly be more detailed photos of the construction of the undercarriage?

5/8/2014 5:54:17 AM

Who is going to clear up all the mess deposited on the ground by all these horses? There will be a lot. In Blackpool UK there are landaus trotting up and down the front and on a hot day the mess and smell is disgusting. There have been attempts to clean this up by fitting the ponies with 'nappies' but it depends on the landau driver doing it properly to prevent overspill and it's not in their interest to collect too much! I'm old enough to remember horse-muck was a problem everywhere,

5/7/2014 9:09:52 AM

Awesome grass roots artistry! Congratulations. Your idea to come to market is refreshingly different and I bet people will copy you. I hope so!!! Nostalgia is definitely in!!!! And less use of gasoline is what our lovely Mother Earth needs. Thank you for inspiring me!!!! DASH

5/7/2014 8:12:14 AM

excellent idea, I live in a fairly rural area, but traffic has got so bad lately......otherwise I would buy a horse to travel to work.

4/23/2014 9:23:09 AM

Here's to more horse-drawn wagons on the roads in the near future! Thanks for posting.

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