East Charlotte is open for business

It’s a bird… It’s a plane. No, it’s Britsue’s Greenhouse/Tenney’s Snack Bar. A fantastic treasure in “East” Charlotte. You see the signs beginning on Route 7 and Ferry Road…so follow them.

Yes, it is a wonderful greenhouse but so much more. Creemies (vanilla, maple and pistachio), snack bar (pizza, burgers and dogs), gathering place (table, chairs), bottle redemption center and propane sales. How fortunate are we Charlotters to have this all under one roof!

A visit on a very hot and humid afternoon revealed the magic.

The greenhouse was started by Susie Mayo and Rick Tenney in about 2001. The goal was to help Brittany, their daughter, earn money for college. The greenhouse, packed with a boisterous array of plants, is open from Mother’s Day to July 4. However, even in the dog days of summer a riot of colorful plants and hanging baskets are for sale: begonias, petunias overflowing their pots. Worth a visit!

Britsue’s starts veggie and flower plants from seed or tubers in early spring. Rick reports that they buy seeds and tubers from many different sources, including High Mowing Organic Seeds. The starting soil is from Gecewicz in Charlotte; it is composed of, among other ingredients, peat, vermiculite, bone meal and lime. Rick said the mix does not include compost, which can compact and prevent germination. The recipe is probably secret, but it works!

Veggies starts that do not sell are planted out. That means pumpkin, cucumbers, corn and tomatoes galore are in their garden and will soon be available for sale. Check in to see what they have. Yum.

Available for sale at the snack bar are utterly delicious relishes, including green tomato. These are made by Brittany, who learned to can at the Charlotte Senior Center from Joan Weed. Joan, as you all know, is the premier Charlotte gardener.

Rick Tenney is old-time Charlotte. He grew up on the family farm on what is now Bean Road. At the store is a framed copy of the local paper article on the fire. The fire, started by a lightning strike, destroyed the family home in June 1965. The article stated, in part, “Charlotte firemen reportedly had the fire under control before running out of water.” A huge loss, but the Tennys are made of tough stuff. We can continue to be grateful for our fire department.

On a hot and muggy day the creemie business was brisk, as was the snack business. Montgomery was there with his dad after a soccer practice. Here is a picture of a happy boy eating a creemie.

Creemies are just a part of Tenny enterprises. They run one of the vanishing but essential bottle redemption centers. Mike is the “redeemed man.” He observed that folks have different attitudes toward refundable bottles and cans. Some just leave bags—glad to have them at a recycle place, others ask that the proceeds go a local charity, and others count every item. Mike is a hero to those of us who struggle to find a place for the refundable cans and bottles.

But note the entire enterprise will be closed from August 1-10 for a very well deserved vacation.

As Rick said, “East Charlotte is open for business.”

Have a great time on your visit.