Change is in the wind here at Green Heron Tools — even if it is a weirdly warm wind for January 9. As I write, Ann and her daughter, Chris, are at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) in Baltimore, working to get HERS into the hands of more women, more easily.
Having made a few minor changes after our first run (see Oct. 21, 2012 blog), we — & HERS, our hergonomic® (ergonomic, for women) shovel-spade hybrid — are ready for a wider distribution network. Chris has helped us out since the company’s inception and is now our Wholesale Manager, and MANTS represents our first effort at getting the word out to a large number of potential retailers. Meanwhile, HERS is already available through a small number of pioneering (dare I say “groundbreaking”? :-) ) partners — Nicholson-Hardie Garden Center in Dallas, Gardens in the Santa Fe Farmers Market building in Santa Fe, and two local retailers / friends — Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery, and the Rodale Institute. Thanks to them for betting on HERS, which we’re hoping will be in many more retail locations — and many more women’s hands — by this time next year.
2013 also promises to be a big year for our revolutionary tiller. Yes, I really did say “revolutionary” — and mean it! As many of you know, we’ve been working for more than two years on a replacement for the full-size walk-behind rototiller that will be gentler on the operator, the soil and the environment. Thanks to a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our talented and creative team of engineers and inventors, we are only a few months away from having several “beta prototypes” (prototypes made from parts identical to or very similar to those that will be in the final product) ready to test in the spring. Work has also begun on our patent application; once it’s filed, we’ll be able to share a lot more information with you about our invention, which we hope to have on the market in time for the 2014 growing season.
You won’t have to wait until 2014 for new tool offerings on our website, though! In the next few weeks we’ll be adding two new items — a telescoping lopper from BAHCO, and a second version of the popular hori hori soil knife from GrowTech. And if you’d like to come meet us and see our tools “in person,” we’re planning a more diverse schedule this year than last. In fact, it’s already begun — with Ann away at MANTS, I did an enjoyable (for me, at least :-) workshop yesterday for the Camden County (NJ) master gardeners. We’ll be presenting and selling our tools at the University of Maryland’s statewide Master Gardener Training Day in May, and will be presenting our first-ever remote workshop in March, for the Cass County, Iowa, Master Gardeners Garden Seminar. Though we won’t be there in person, some of our tools will! We’re also working on an ambitious vending schedule for the spring plant sale season; visit the Calendar section of our website to find out more.
Whew! Just writing about all this makes me excited — and a bit tired :-) Hopefully lunch will revive me . . . and hopefully you’ll check back again soon to see how 2013 is unfolding here at Green Heron Tools and in the gardens of Green Heron Farms. Meanwhile, a happy, healthy & vibrantly green New Year to all!