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Utah Garden Shop Says Interest In Home-Grown Food Is Growing

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Dreams can be cultivated in the strangest of ways. Beuna Tomalino’s dream of opening her own gardening shop took decades to bloom.

“I actually had this business plan for over 25 years,” she said. “It’s kind of scary. I have a degree in horticulture, I did work retail for 20 years, so I did have that experience.”

Once her kids were grown, she put down roots and opened shop. Part of her plan involved teaching — teaching in a classroom in the back of her shop, called “Basil & Rose” — a classroom where the class has been sitting at home.

Instead, she’s set up a small camera, hoping to teach a few classes online.

Like most businesses, Tomalino’s has felt the crunch of the coronavirus.

“I’ve ordered seeds multiple times, and seed companies are running out of stuff,” she said.

She hadn’t yet opened last spring, which is when many would be looking to visit a shop like hers.

She said she doesn’t have anything to compare it to — but interest in gardening seems to be growing.

“In general, people are more interested in gardening, even if they’d never done it before,” Tomalino said. “Or if they have done it before, maybe they want to grow more than they have.”

Tomalino’s father grew up on a farm in the Great Depression, adding that growing and storing food has always been a part of her life.

She said it’s always wise to work, being ready for anything, especially now.

“I didn’t think this would happen, but it could be something else damaging the food supply,” she said.

Earthquakes, floods or drought could all shock what shows up on shelves — and Tomalino said even an apartment is plenty of space to grow something like herbs.

“Even though I have a yard, all of my houseplants are edible,” she said. “You can have herbs, different things like that, and I have them inside, because they wouldn’t survive the winter outside.”

But she doesn’t expect people to be quite as into this as she is.

“I do grow plants you can use as toilet paper,” Tomalino said with a laugh. “But I hope I never have to do that!”

Whether it’s a drive towards self-sufficiency, or just people with more time on their hands, Tomalino’s dream may have taken a quarter century to germinate, but it’s sprouting up to be a success.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and I feel like I’m helping a lot of people.”

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