Though it's less than ten miles north of here, I've put off visiting this little natural oasis until this weekend. Prior to that, I've heard so many rumblings what a cool place it is. After all, even Alex Jones advertises their Solutions From Science solar panel systems on his radio program. And even years ago, I kept seeing ads in the newspaper for some mysterious business in Thomson selling nutritional supplements. Could it have been the same people?
Thomson must be a secret source for all things natural and organic. After all, Michele Beschen of PBS's 'B Organic' show hails from there (her parents live in Savanna, the next city north) and she's been a great source of ideas.
But let's cut to the chase -- all those coupons in the Clinton Herald newspaper I just kept cutting out, and since it said the plants were available April 14 -- we just had to go. So I wolfed down lunch and Dad and I headed up.
For years the McGinnis melon stand was the go-to place or destination for autumn fun and Halloween pumpkins. And that's precisely where Heirloom Solutions is located. But now they have a big ranch-like structure, as well as a modest greenhouse.
When we first arrived, it looked pretty busy with a lot of vehicles parked in front. But really, since it was an overcast day (threatening storms) the customers were only trickling in.
For the most part it looks like an average garden center, but the owner (Bill Heid) does a great job of sourcing his heirloom plants and seeds from small / local farmers. He also publishes the free Off The Grid e-newsletter.
Since the coupon entitled us to five free seedling plants, I picked out some fancy Romanesco (sort of a combination of broccoli and cauliflower which looks like little pyramids) and lacy kale. And we also got a free seed catalog and DVD on seed saving. (It was a bit like removing hen's teeth getting the free stuff advertised on the coupons, but I understand they are a business and need to make money).
Of course, Dad had meanwhile stayed true to his nature and wandered off in another direction -- which brought us to the huge Market room. Wow -- now we really are in business!
I immediately headed for the honey (some of which was from Fulton) and picked out an alluring creamed huckleberry blend. The glass jar would also make an excellent candle holder (once empty) but clearly this was one to savor!
There were so many fantastic food finds and other natural products. I even found some interesting einkorn cookies -- einkorn is an ancient kind of wheat, and these cookies had little checkerboards on them. (Next time I will bring more money). The locally-made corn tortilla chips certainly looked delicious -- I'll have to pick up a couple bags once I run out of the Way Better chip case I'm working on now!
I also found some intriguing herbal tea by Mountain Rose Herbs, a place recommended by my vet friend Dr. Patricia Jordan. Well, maybe next time. The prices were, shall we say, sturdy but you can understand the way Ben Bernanke has been stocking his helicopters lately!
And yes, those solar generators were also present. But Dad probably saw the most unexpected sight -- whole sides of grass-fed beef! We'll have to saw off a bit the next time we're in town -- or do they sell something smaller?
Even the coolers were stocked with exotic beverages like Kombucha (mushroom) soda. Well, I think I'll stick with my ginger beer for now. Got anything with coconut?!
Heirloom Solutions even has a little library with books on the Founding Fathers and the expected gardening and naturally-oriented literature. And the kids have a little play zone with plenty of educational toys.
While you are shopping you will also get to watch instructional videos, and the radio is tuned to a Christian station. Mr. Heid is definitely serious about getting back to the good earth as a steward, as we all should, very much the way Thomas Jefferson envisioned. And he gives abundant credit to his parents for putting him on the right course.
Altogether it looks like Heirloom Solutions will be getting a lot more of our business in the future, as the seasons change and different sets of plants come into prominence. Some of the ones I'm interested in include ground cherries (which grow wild in a field out by my brother Brian's place) and huckleberries. Well, to be honest I'm excited by any incredible edible!
I would totally recommend Heirloom Solutions to anyone who wants to grow, experiment with new plants, or just live a cleaner and healthier life. There is definitely something there for everyone, but there was one question I was afraid to ask:
"Hey, pssst, ya got any raw unpasteurized milk?"