Thursday, March 11, 2010

Somerset Woman Grows Zeal for Plants

by Megan Greve

Spring is just around the corner and thoughts of planting and growing are filling the minds of many. Some look forward to growing flowers to beautify their yards, while the lure of fresh herbs and vegetables make others’ mouths water. For Somerset Herbs owner Margaret Wince, both of these spring fevers hold appeal. She works to make Somerset Herbs a good place to stop while stocking up for the growing season.

Owner Margaret Wince opened Somerset Herbs about 10 years ago because she wanted a career change from teaching and she and her husband wanted to have a shop closer to home.

“We just wanted to have a business for ourselves on our own property as we’re growing things,” Margaret says. She also explains that the store has changed throughout the past decade, morphing from a wholesale herb store for restaurants in Columbus to what it is today: a shop that sells potted plants, herbs and decorative perennials.

Somerset Herbs is a seasonal store, with most of the business coming in April, May and June. To add to their business, the Winces also travel to a Columbus farmers’ market in the spring, summer and fall. In the wintertime they participate in a small, indoor farmers’ market in Worthington. Margaret says they enjoy the variety of customers they meet at these farmers’ markets, “from the old-fashioned home gardeners to people who want to decorate their yards with really fancy plants.”

Apart from plants and herbs, Somerset Herbs also sells produce during the summer months. Margaret says they don’t grow your regular crops, however.

“We don’t do corn and zucchini and stuff like that,” she explains. Instead, the Winces sell and grow such plants as garlic, heirloom tomatoes and shitake mushrooms. Margaret says she and her husband like learning about foods that people may not be so familiar with.

“There’s a whole world of alternate foods. And when you get into the farm market culture you understand there are a lot of people doing a lot of nifty things that are off the beaten path,” she says.

Margaret explains that she enjoys owning the store for many reasons, including the freedom to make her own decisions and try new things. “It is also an ongoing challenge which enriches me personally,” she continues, “and it gets a little of your artistic needs fulfilled as well.”

Margaret maintains that the zeal for growing and being creative with plants are what her store, as well as her attitude toward it, are all about. “We’re not in this for the capitalist portion of it,” she says. “We do need to pay our bills, but we’re not shop owners as much as we are growers and idea people.”

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