Sunday, January 19, 2014

Meeting Customers

In an internet based business, without an actual storefront, it's possible to go a long time and never meet a customer face to face. Mostly I get emails, the occasional phone call and I meet people all the time at Sustainable Agriculture conferences, but this week has been hopping with face to face meetings.

Gayle wrote to me a few weeks ago and wanted to pick up a broadfork. She lives in a nearby town, Durham, NC,  just far enough away to make it possibly less expensive to drive than to pay UPS to bring it. I agreed to meet her half way where she worked part time at a church.

We met at the appointed time and place late on a sunny and chilly afternoon. She brought along photos of her best garden year and they were amazing. Her family had worked the suburban soil there for 20 years and the photos looked like an ad for Miracle Gro; but they didn't grow that way. One look at her and I knew she knew better.

She had never used a broadfork and wanted to try it as soon as she got home. I said, "We could fork up a bit of that (dormant) landscaped and mulched area," and we did.

Afterwards, we had a wonderful chat and she made all the appropriate notes to relay to her husband on how to make the handles last forever and she was very glad to not have to use a roto tiller any more.

I had business at the John C Campbell Folk School today and met a couple here that drove up from Gainesville, GA for a Bertha Broadfork. They ordered it the day it was launched on our new website and they got the first production Bertha Broadfork, #01B.

The Folk School has a beautiful garden and all of the vegetables that are grown there are served to the students and staff. Hildreth and Ron got to try out some broadforks today in that stunning setting on a perfect sunny Southern January day.

Ron is shown here using my personal prototype Big Bertha and Hildreth has her Bertha in the soil.

Here she is in a fresh bed of mulched soil using the diagonal side step technique to keep from stepping in the bed. You progress with a broadfork by walking backward as you go, in the same manner you progress in a rowboat. If you don't want to put your feet in the beds, you simply walk beside it. If one person is on each side, you can fork a lot of soil very quickly that way. It leaves kind of a herringbone pattern in the soil.

The folk school has several of my broadforks and has been using them in that garden for years now. It's always fun to travel there and in fact, the new website photos were shot in their garden and the surrounding buildings. There's a lot of history at this 90 year old school and the broadforks in their tool shed will be working the soil for the next 90 plus years. That feels so good to me.

I have made over 900 broadforks now and am looking forward to many more. Thanks to Gayle, Hildreth and Ron for making this week a very special one for me. I look forward to meeting a lot more of you at the MOSES Conference in February in LaCrosse, WI and at the Organic Growers School in Asheville, NC in March. Look for me at the Earth Tools booth in the trade show area.

Good soil to you,


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