It all started with some organic vegetables. After long days picking produce and tilling the land on her grandparents’ Vancouver Island farm, Marla Ebell would “stay up all night, carefully wrapping up all the vegetables in paper and string.”
The experience inspired her to open Hold General Store in Victoria, British Columbia. “I wanted to create a space where vegetables were sold with respect and appreciation, to reflect the amount of love and energy my grandparents were putting into growing,” she says. True to general stores of old, her shop sells produce fresh from the farm alongside artful utilitarian goods (and incorporates greens into the decor). Join us for a tour of the farm and shop (and head to Remodelista for a look at the goods on offer).
Photography by Kelly Brown, courtesy of Hold General Store.
Above: The bright, white-washed shop, located in the coastal city of Victoria, features everyday housewares (brushes, dustpans, cups, and linens) and potted plants and vegetables from her grandparents’ farm “two hours up-island from the shop.”
Above: The shop owner in her element.
Above: Ebell’s grandparents have a 23-acre, certified organic vegetable farm. “I come and visit almost every week and pick the vegetables and herbs that I sell at the shop whenever I can,” Ebell says. Here, brassicas (collards and kale) grow in abundance.
Above: Greenhouse-grown plants are transplanted to Vancouver-made porcelain planters for display in the shop. (The planters are currently sold out.)
Above: Ebell harvests greens with an Opinel pocket knife, available for $38 CAD ($28.93) at Hold.
Above: A bountiful day at the shop: In addition to potted plants and vases of flowers, Ebell sells bowls of freshly cut greens. A bundle of greenery, wrapped in cloth, sits atop the refrigerator. “Most of the potted plants and vegetables come from the farm, although I often will buy from other amazing farmers in the area,” Ebell says.
Above: “I try to have whatever vegetables are seasonally available for sale at the shop,” Ebell says, though, naturally, “some months are more scarce than others.” Here, an enamelware pot brims with fresh spinach. Also on offer: Swiss chard and kale.
Above: Ebell dots display shelves and tables with vases of wildflowers. Of particular use to gardeners and farmers: a two-sided nail brush by Redecker, available at Hold for $21 CAD or $15.99 US.
Above: In the center of the space is an ingenious invention for the farm-to-table (or windowsill-to-table) gardener: a hanging herb-drying rack. “This was one of my favorite projects,” Ebell says. “I built it out of cedar that I milled with my dad.” It doubles as a focal point for the small shop.
Above: Ebell lays bundles of farm-fresh herbs carefully across the rungs. “Whenever I am at the farm I will pick whatever is in excess in the herb garden and bring it back to the shop to dry. I use the dry herbs for oil infusions or teas,” she adds.
Above: Queen Anne’s Lace in a concrete container fits with the white and gray palette. Hand-woven linen cloths can be used for wrapping greens or cleaning ($30 CAD, or $22.86 US).
Above: Ebell adds a few feathery stems to a vintage glass bottle for a quiet detail in a corner.
For more farms and greens, check out our posts:
- Outbuilding of the Week: A Cookhouse on Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island.
- Ask the Expert: Sarah Raven’s 10 Tips for a Kitchen Garden.
- 8 Winter Garden Greens to Grow Now.