Heather Lesher Coffin, who co-owns East Branch Organics in Keene with her husband Tom, poses in front of the Garden Center on Tuesday, Sept. 27. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

KEENE — Before East Branch Organics’ landscaping and garden center became a reality, it already existed in co-owner Heather Leisher Coffin’s vision of the ideal garden center.

But more than a dozen years ago, when she first discovered the property behind Stewart Shops off State Route 9N/73 in Keene, the garden center had been neglected for 10 years and the grass was just average. It was adult height.

“It was like finding ruins.” she said.

Beneath the overgrowth, however, were the beginnings of new garden centers that provide landscaping services and floral CSA, sell everything from perennials and annuals to wine and spirits, and host educational and educational events. .

Leisher Coffin and her husband, business partner Tom Coffin, moved to the area from Nantucket 13 years ago and ran a landscaping business together. They were looking for something different from island life. More rooms, a better school for two young children, and real estate prices that won’t go bankrupt.They tried the main for half a year and Heather said it “Didn’t fit” That’s when they tried Keen, a place they’d visited in the past for camping and hiking. On their first night here, Heather said she knew they made the right decision. When we discovered our East Branch property, all the puzzle pieces of the future of agriculture fit together organically.

Keen’s East Branch Organics will be seen here on Tuesday, September 27th. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

Heather has been surrounded by plants all her life. Her father was a gardener and went with him to the nursery during the summer. One summer of her college, she took a job as a gardener in Nantucket. She studied International Relations but discovered that gardening was her future. She started working for a landscaping company on the island, where she met Tom.

The landscaping company that Heather and Tom worked for “organic” Part of the East Branch where all the center’s growing practices are organic. Nantucket is a densely developed area with well-kept lawns everywhere, and it’s common for landscaping to apply chemical fertilizers to give clients the lush green lawns they want, Heather said. It was a practice. But Heather and Tom noticed a side effect of these practices. They saw algal blooms, dead birds, rabbits and other wildlife that had suffered from the toxicity of the chemicals. Then, when they launched their own landscaping business in the early 2000s, they became one of the first landscaping companies to adopt organic practices. Now, she said, it is illegal to use chemical fertilizers on Nantucket.

Heather and Tom were also one of the founders of Nantucket’s first farmers’ market. That inspired Heather’s idea of ​​opening a garden center.

“I loved farmers markets and wanted to experience the atmosphere every day.” she said.

It’s pumpkin and mum season at East Branch Organics. But in the spring, according to Heather, the growing season is at its peak and his five greenhouses on the property are flooded with plants. In summer, all plants are outdoors for cool and convenient shopping. In the winter, the East Branch sells his Christmas tree and makes wreaths. And when the new year is over, it’s time to get back to planning for the next season.

Heather Leisher Coffin, co-owner of East Branch Organics, roams among the plants in the garden center’s greenhouse on Tuesday, Sept. 27. In front of her is a Lisianthus flower. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

East Branch started out with one part-time employee, but grew naturally to about 15 team members over the summer, according to Heather. They’re still expanding, too, and Heather is about to implement a new event coordinator position for her.

Now Heather and Tom are stepping into a new business. Starting next week, I will be the new owner and operator of McDonough’s Valley Hardware in Keene Valley. They plan to continue running the store as a hardware store, and Heather said they plan to increase the retail space for garden supplies.

Heather said the move managed to happen even when she tried to move to Keen instead of following her instincts. “unplug” —She decided it would be safer to stay in Nantucket. Her children had fallen ill, her son’s school had started too late and had to be transferred to another school, and the rental house they rented in Nantucket had broken sewers. The family decides to go back to Keane’s plan. On her first night here, Heather said she felt like she could breathe for the first time. That was before she knew the garden center existed.

Here are her lessons: Follow your intuition and let life happen organically.

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, you’ll see different types of lettuce in the tall tunnels of Keene’s East Branch Organics. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *