I walked into the store, the lights dark, a closed sign hanging on the Seed Bombs dispenser, and started taking photos of the entire store’s inventory, as I had arranged with Farmer D just moments before via phone. (Please note that although the store is closed on Mondays during the summer, Carol the bookkeeper was hard at work, the wood shop was buzzing creating exclusive Farmer D Organics products such as compost bins for Williams-Sonoma, the gardens were growing as usual, the chickens were everywhere out back, and the eco-carwash was in full swing.) Click on the photo collage to see it larger (or come to the store to see everything in person).
During these rare moments alone in the store, I had a couple of flashbacks to prior conversations with Farmer D. One was in February of 2008 when he told me he was custom-creating a line of branded products. I wrote about it on my blog here (with the headline The Horseradish Whisperer). The next was several months later when he called to tell me about his parents’ carwash and how he and his amazing entrepreneurial father, Stan Joffe, were thinking about repurposing half of it as a Farmer D Organics retail store. His excitement was palpable, his dreams huge. He and his father announced the launch of the store at a green expo trade show that November, and yes, I wrote about that, too. Just last week, Farmer D participated in yet another trade show, the annual Atlanta Gift Show at AmericasMart, and I’m holding my breath to see what happens next.
As I drove home from the store, I kept thinking about the variety of carefully-curated items that are packed into that compact, organized space. You name it, it’s here–from bat guano to beneficial insects, poultry feed to poison ivy defoliant, mushroom logs and kits to worm castings, containers, and cover crops. The Farmer D Organics retail store is a veritable one-stop shop for all the cool stuff you’ve seen in organic gardening magazines and the must-haves on which you’ve grown to depend for your gardening needs. Row cover fabric. Bird nets and fencing. Herbicides and fungicides. Compost, soil and cedar beds. Legume inoculant, for goodness sake.
But it’s more than that. It’s a man’s dreams, nurtured through the years, on display. “The garden resembles the gardener,” I like to say (and did, in fact, say yet again when Carol and I were out talking in the gardens as she was herding the chickens from one end to the other). I suppose it is also accurate to say that the shop resembles the shop owner, and that if you stand still and look around for a moment when you come to Farmer D Organics (or browse online), you will see how true this is.