Dear Organic Gardener’s Pantry aficionados, after a long time without a beep, it is my pleasure to send you an update today.
Needless to say, 2020 and the first half of 2021 have been extraordinary times. I sincerely hope you and yours have made it through okay so far.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s impermanence… so many loved ones tragically gone before their time. So many plans shattered, jobs lost, lifestyle adjustments needed.
And yet, there are some blessings to count. Being stuck at home, looking inwards, focussed attention on projects within our reach and power… and before long, home improvements and all things horticulture, garden, and landscape related, were experiencing a huge surge in popularity.
It was no different for the Pantry. Order numbers soared last year and again this spring. My employee Sam, having started at a tentative couple of half-days per week in early 2020, is now helping me at near full-time capacity, and honestly, I wouldn’t know how to manage without them. Sam, you rock!
We learned to manage the challenging surges, navigating ups and downs in supply chains, prioritizing tasks, and giving thanks daily for your patience. Have I told you lately, dear Pantry customers: You rock, too!
In late 2020, Phil completed a long-overdue website overhaul (thank you, Phil!), which many of you have noticed and appreciated. It is more user-friendly and offers better behind-the-scenes efficiency, security, and customer service. So here we thought we were all set for the new season, and then… that impermanence thing came up.
Not the virus, no — thankfully we have all remained healthy — but in early Spring of this year, it suddenly became clear that this little home based business was finally outgrowing its home. My converted living room, front porch, and basement storage space simply didn’t cut it any more! And then there was the matter of insurance, and adhering to city bylaws… well, it became complicated.
So I started looking, and relatively quickly found an affordable (if not glamorous) commercial site in Victoria’s light industrial area in Vic West. Many helping hands made for a quick (if not light!) move.
The Organic Gardener’s Pantry is now operating out of 975-B Alston Street, Victoria BC, V9A 3S5. And the location has been working out great! It is upstairs, by the way, from The Gardener’s Kit. A nice synergy.
While this is still primarily a web-based mail-order business, drop-ins for picking up local orders are of course welcome. Usual business hours are weekdays, 10-4. Please always check in by calling or texting before coming by, just in case: 250-216-3733.
But that’s not all… Once again, impermanence recently hit home, in a literal sense this time, as the house I live in was put on the market and sold in late May. I have been given notice to vacate the home and garden I have cherished for fifteen years, by July 31. So I’ll finish this update on a personal note:
My newlywed husband Chris and I (yes! we tied the knot this spring, in part to counter all that impermanence with an expression of solid commitment!), plus our mini tiger “Mags”, are looking for new digs. Any leads will be deeply appreciated.
With the business now separated from home, we are aiming for a smaller place: 1-2 bedrooms with garden access in a cat-friendly house, somewhere around greater Victoria, for August 1st, 2021.
We have excellent references and promise to be mature, respectful, quiet, hardworking tenants, non-smoking/non-partying of course, and good for the money. Bonus, we will joyfully help with garden maintenance, including a steady supply of all the organic garden goodies. We are a good deal!
Mags, our rescued cat, is somewhat disabled and cannot climb or hunt, but he still likes to pretend he’s the king of the jungle. He’s part of the family.
Thank you and have a very good summer of 2021. I’ll keep you posted…!
P.S. Have you seen my new EM+Kelp product? “Tofino Kelp” is produced by Keltsmaht Kelp, a First Nations led company based in the heart of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s fermented using Effective Microorganisms, resulting in a fertilizer-probiotic hybrid. You can check it out here on my kelp page.