OSO — After a tumultuous season last year, in the wake of the Oso slide, the Fruitful Farm & Nursery on Highway 530 aims to have an upgraded facility this season.
Aaron Hall, manager of the Fruitful Farm, promised to open on time this year, at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 25, as opposed to last year, when the March 22 slide forced him to delay opening until May 9. Customers will notice an addition behind his stand at 21308 Highway 530 NE this year.
While the front display area will retain its gravel flooring, the back will have an easy-to-clean concrete floor, and incorporate a walk-in cooler, a produce washing and packing area, and more retail space and storage. Hall also plans to use the large covered area to host community apple cider pressing events and educational workshops.
“It’s designed to meet many needs at once,” Hall said, as workers finished laying foundation and concrete floor for the 42-foot by 42-foot structure, which broke ground in March after planning began last November.
Hall has been raising money online to build the addition at www.fruitfulfarm.net/fundraiser, but he also hopes that more customers and an expanded selection of products will bring more business as well.
“After folks read about us in the paper last year, so many more people came out to shop with us,” Hall said. “We never expected that level of support. Between that and the fact that two of our local grocery stores have closed since last year, we’re expecting to see a lot of new faces this year.”
Hall was referring to Haggen and Food Pavilion, which closed in Arlington.
Fruitful Farm has branched out into heirloom plants, hanging baskets, sedums and new varieties of tomatoes. Hall has even found a source of organic seed in the Ukraine that seems to be coming up well so far.
In the meantime, Hall is more than halfway toward his initial goal of $10,000, to help purchase the rest of the lumber, doors and building materials.
“This new multipurpose building will give us the tools to expand our services to our local community, continue building and strengthening relationships, sharing knowledge and enriching lives,” Hall said.