There is a great debate over where you should and should not spend your gardening money. Many people feel that you should buy the best deals and they can often be found at big chain stores. Many others feel that you should spend your money at small local business because it does so much for your local economy. I can see the sense in both arguments and I have been known to shop at both large and small stores. However, if you ask me what my favorite garden store is the answer is quick and easy: My local small garden shop~The Backyard Farmer.
It's a family run business (yes, they still exist!). A few years ago the business was run by a different family and I shopped there back then too. But during it's last few years under prior ownership it began to lean towards wine making, orchard-ing, and pumpkins in the fall. Then one spring I heard rumors that it was closing and my heart went into my throat! I couldn't imagine not having this store nearby (even if I hadn't been a big spender there in a few years).
So it was great relief when I stopped in and saw Brian Sheley running the newly named Backyard Farmer. I instantly felt a change of atmosphere. This was a place for the gardener. I defy anyone to have a question that Brian and his friendly staff can't answer. And believe me when I say I've asked some WEIRD questions! They have everything needed for the backyard farmer or gardener. From bird food, bird houses, horse & tackle needs to seed potatoes, fresh (and I mean FRESH) produce, boots, tools, mulch, and soil additives, and yes, flowers. But they have something extra that no chain store could every carry. Spirit.
When you enter the store there is an instant feeling of community. It's like bumping into an old friend. It always surprises and delights me. During apple season Brian has been known to give each child a free apple causing immediate giggles followed by the quiet crunch that accompanies biting into an apple. And as you make your way through the store you will encounter the nicest member of the staff: Claire! Oh, she is sweet and friendly. She is so very gentle that every child finds a calm smile when she is near. I've often thought that I'd love to put Claire in the truck with my purchases and take her home too. And Claire is too wonderful to object but Brian would. So we say good bye to Claire and leave the Backyard Farmer until next time. And with a mouth full of apple my daughter will say, "Claire is a great dog!" And I agree and add, "And that is a great store."
So, if you live near my neck of the woods. Take a drive on US Route 11 to Adams Center, NY. Meet Brian and Claire and the rest of the crew at Backyard Farmer. You'll be so very glad you did.