Tools and trinkets: Natalie Pollard’s Small Terrain supplies practical projects and whimsies, alike.
Though it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, urban homesteading has lately spread to kitchens and backyards near and far. In Asheville, chickens stroll across lawns and tomatoes trellis against mailboxes. Natalie Pollard's new West Asheville shop, Small Terrain, caters to the small-scale agriculturalist and the from-scratch kitchen enthusiast.
The new space houses high-quality gardening tools, soil amendments, chicken feed, beekeeping basics, canning accouterments, cheese-making equipment, rain barrels and living wall planters all in one space. Pollard says that large fields and entire projects aren't the focus of the inventory; rather, she stocks the staples and starters of larger undertakings, as well as informational resources to enable her customers to begin a project and acquire the supplies they need to do it well.
“The idea is if someone's at home, and they're like, 'Gosh, I really want to start a raised bed today,' that they could come here and at least get the basics to get a little garden going,” she says.
Because the growing season is almost finished for this year, she adds, she's still designing the inventory. Over the winter, she hopes to work with the community to determine which products to focus on stocking in the spring.
“I think it will just reveal itself as far as what people need and want out of it,” she says. “I just have some introductory stuff to let people know it will be here, and then in the spring, I'm going to have a lot more.”
But Small Terrain offers plenty to keep the kitchen tinkerer busy through the winter. It's possibly the only retail source in town that stocks starter cultures for kombucha, yogurt, buttermilk and cheese. Plus, the bookshelves host literature on beekeeping, healthful cooking and fermentation. The space will host classes on topics such as canning, permaculture and cooking.
Pollard, who has a graduate degree in landscape architecture, will also collaborate with Living Roofs Inc., an Asheville-based company that helps homeowners turn their roofs into green spaces.
The shop itself represents a work of sustainable design. Pollard salvaged most of the furniture herself. An old door serves as a countertop. Slotted tin buckets for harvesting olives adorn the light fixtures. Stained wooden palates make up the sales counter. The space is calm and charming at once. It's enough to make you wonder whether it's a design portfolio in itself, but Pollard says she's focusing on retail for the present.
“The idea is to start off with retail and classes and then, yes, on consulting and more community design,” she says “My interest is to empower you to do your own yard.”
Small Terrain is open at 278 Haywood Road, Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.