Our favorite local goodies, gear, and gadgets.
Tired of trips to and from the shed to retrieve left-behind tools, Bellevue’s Jim Fabregas had enough. But after failing to find a tool tote at local hardware stores, the 30-year contractor decided to build his own all-in-one bin in late 2002. Fabregas’s neighbors caught wind of it and wanted their own, and what started as a DIY fix became a burgeoning business run out of the family garage. The Tacoma-made garden and tool caddy balances on both straight and circular workstations and contains spaces for everything from coffee cups to pruning shears. $20, gardentoolcaddy.com
Lauren Burman started crafting pint-size vases to raise money for a marathon supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2008, when her grandmother Shirley was diagnosed with cancer. Once the colorful containers—called Little Shirleys—started selling, Burman quit her day job to make them full time under the name Material Good, first from her mother’s basement and now from a SoDo studio. The handmade vases come in 35 colors, and in honor of Grandma Shirley, who passed away, 10 percent of every sale goes to cancer research. $20, material-good.com
While on a commercial fishing boat on the Bering Sea in the early ’90s, Walt Benecki struck up a conversation with the ship’s skipper about using fishmeal in farming. Fascinated, he returned home, hit the books, and opened his Ballard-based organic farming shop and nursery, Walt’s Organic Fertilizer Co., just a few years later. The rustic space stocks biodynamic seeds, native starter plants, and organic soil conditioners and fertilizers. Walt’s Organic Garden Blend combines a maritime mix formulated for farming in our unique soil conditions. $14 per 4lb bag, waltsorganic.com
When aspiring entrepreneur Sander Kallshian met someone hoping to off-load a couple 100-year-old seed-packing machines in April 2010, he saw an opportunity to get out of his corporate cubicle and open a business of his own. Seattle Seed Company now offers an online-only selection of certified-organic seeds in everything from arugula to zucchini. Giftable seed collections are hand packaged in boxes with locally drawn artwork and come in clever varieties like Herb Envy and Too Mucha Tomato. $12, seattleseed.com
Former producer John Wehman started Montlake-based Laughing Creek Productions in 2009, after years of building yard furniture and outdoor playthings for himself. His colorful outdoor garden chairs are based on the nineteenth-century scissor chair, once popular on East Coast beaches. And true to his Northwest roots, Wehman seeks out recycled and reclaimed wood when he can and uses eco-friendly paints and stains that hold up to the local climate. $138 and up, laughingcreekproductions.com
After launching and selling the Made in Washington stores, Gillian Mathews was looking to get her hands dirty. “In our area gardeners were being forced to make long treks to big nurseries, and there were no stores in regional shopping centers that catered to them,” she says. So in 1997, she opened Ravenna Gardens in the middle of the remodeled University Village. With a selection ranging from peonies to potting benches, it offers house calls and hosts workshops, including an April 28 floral bouquet demo. ravennagardens.com
Published: April 2013