Photo by Mark Gibson
Maria Mueske, co-owner of The Twisted Vine Garden Center in The Dalles with her partner Cole Griffiths, holds their son Forrest outside their store on Second Street. Although the store caters heavily to marijuana growers, Mueske, who studied horticulture and botany, hopes to serve gardeners of all types.
As of Wednesday, March 23, 2016
With a plethora of garden stores catering to marijuana growers in the Portland area, and another in Hood River, Maria Museke and her partner Cole Griffiths decided to locate their garden store in The Dalles.
“We saw a need for a garden store in The Dalles,” Mueske explained. “There aren't many stores east of here.” After eight months in business at 747 E. Second Street, next to Hank's Auto, they are encouraged they made the right choice.
“We're pretty busy,” Museke said. They draw customers from Tygh Valley, Dallesport and Goldendale, as well as The Dalles and as far east as Pendleton.
“We try to stay competitive with Portland prices,” Museke explained. With similar pricing, gardeners are happy to save on the drive to Portland.
The garden supply store — they sell cannibals selective and advanced nutrients, general hydroponics, and a product called “Nectar of the Gods,” an Oregon based line of plant nutrients — caters largely to commercial marijuana grows in Washington. In April, as grower permits in Oregon take effect, Museke anticipates seeing more business from those grows.
And with Oregon law allowing individuals to raise their own plants, Museke sees a strong future for The Twisted Vine as small growers begin their own gardens.
Yet Museke doesn't want to cater only to the marijuana industry. “Although cannabis needs some specific additives, the basics are good for vegetables as well,” she explained. She plans to add a community-style garden this spring, with vegetables. “It would make the area visually appealing,” as well as showing what her products can do. She will donate the produce to a local food bank. And she wants to have a monthly get-together where gardeners of all stripes can meet, share ideas and network.
“Mostly, it will let gardeners get together and socialize.”
By next spring, she plans to add a small nursery in a fenced area next to the store. “There are a lot of unique strains of plants and vegetables being grown by nurseries in the I-5 corridor things you don't find at the department store.”
“I have information about everything. If people have a question, I've got an answer.” She also takes orders and makes weakly purchase runs.
But commercial Marijuana grows will continue to be her primary customers.
“It's not one of those things that should be taboo anymore. People who grow Marijuana are not bad.” So far, the community seems to be accepting that, she said.
“For the most part, people don't have a problem with it.”
The Twisted Vine Garden Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at 541-296-4769, or via email at email@example.com.