Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Mitchell's Hardware Store, 215 Craven Street in historic downtown New Bern, is an authentic turn-of-the-century hardware store, as integral to the town's history as Tryon Palace.

From its beginning at the turn of the century, Mitchell's had a reputation for being the place to go for hard-to-find items.  The same is true today.  My hubby has gone to Mitchell's more than once for items not available elsewhere in New Bern (e.g., mineral oil, balls of butcher's string and a plumbing fitting for his boat).
This is a true old-time country store.

A person could literally spend hours here, uncovering hidden gems in the huge inventory of hardware items, cast iron cookware, traditional pottery, enamel ware, bird-watching accessories, spices, seeds and more.  And if you just can't go through all that, there are friendly employees to help.  If you have out-of-town guests, give them a tour of our beautiful downtown, and show them Mitchell's. We bring all our out-of-town guests here for a delightful visit.  Most of them find something they want to purchase.

Seeds are available via packets, but also by the ounce or pound.

Two years ago, my hubby was referred by a local to Mitchell's for stringbean seeds that were supposedly superior for their tenderness and flavor.  The problem:  we only needed about 6 seeds for the earthbox.  No problem.  These seeds produced the heartiest vines, and the absolute best stringbeans we've ever eaten.  Greg, the present owner, told me why.  "All of our seeds are North Carolina seeds.  That means they'll grow in North Carolina."  Greg is constantly answering questions posed by customers, such as this gentleman who was interested in purchasing veggie packs but wanted to know more about the plant.

Greg knows everything you need to know about the plants that are sold at Mitchell's.  The plants are all grown in New Bern to increase your likelihood of success.  As soon as I saw the luscious lettuce plants, I knew I needed to buy some.  Mitchell's has spinach, spicy mix, arugula, red and green leaf lettuces and mesclun in round pots for $5.99 each.  

Greg cautioned me that I need to continually pick the leaves so that more will be produced.  If you stop picking, Greg said, the plant will stop producing.  I appreciated the reminder, though I was already aware of this since  I grow lettuce every year.  There's no need to transplant what's in the pot.  In fact, it's best to just leave the lettuce right in its original container.  So, on the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart and bought some clear plastic saucers.  The lettuce and arugula look beautiful on our patio coffee table.
Mitchell's will be getting tomato plants, peppers and herbs soon.  You can bet we'll be back to get some.  

Mitchell's store hours, in case you're wondering are:
  Monday - Friday, 6:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  Saturday, 6:30 AM - 5:00 PM

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