In some ways, Margie Redditt is exactly who you’d expect to be running the Harvest Moon Food Store, a landmark retail location focused on “clean,” natural and often vegan or vegetarian groceries.
Redditt came to Floyd County in the early 80s determined to live off the land—and for a while she did, at The Floyd Mill Co-op, with her then-husband and two young children in tow. “We lived in a teepee for a while…I think because it was an adventure,” Redditt said. “It wasn’t because we didn’t have an option, and we didn’t see it that way. And we weren’t alone here—there were a lot of folks in the back hollers,” she remembered.
Redditt said her family loved Floyd immediately—she called it a “heart center,” because of its natural beauty and the like-minded people it tends to attract. “We lived here because it was rural, and we wanted to get back to the land. When we did move here, the people that lived here were so good to us,” Redditt said.
She mentioned encountering folks interested in gardening, biodynamic growing, the philosophies of Edgar Cayce—called “the father of holistic medicine”—and other similar topics, saying, “There’s a lot of that going around, and maybe (Floyd) just draws more energy or more of the same kind of people.”
Eventually, Redditt bought out the co-op where she lived and it became Harvest Moon, which first operated out of the wooden building that now houses County Sales on Main Street in Floyd. Twelve years ago, she bought the property where the store now operates—right outside Town of Floyd limits—and built the establishment from the ground up, employing lots of local artisans and landscapers, and incorporating the teachings of feng shui, she said.
The store is like her “third child,” she said, but “it’s time to let the next person take it on.” Redditt—who described herself as a control freak when it comes to the store—said she’s nonetheless ready to retire, and she recently placed both the business and the property up for sale. She intends for the new owners to be as invested in what the business brings to Floyd as she has been. Asked whether she would consider selling to someone who wanted to gut the place, Redditt said, “Nobody wants to give me that much money—no, I would never.” She’s willing to wait for the right fit.
“Right now, I’m still super involved in the process. It will have to change, because everyone has their own way. But it’s such a good thing for the community,” Redditt said. She described how tourists will often wander into the store as they arrive in Floyd, to ask for directions or for recommendations on where to visit. Harvest Moon Food Store employs 12 people and has a staff that Redditt called “very diverse” in terms of their backgrounds and strengths.
These days, Harvest Moon employees have been working hard to support customers through the coronavirus pandemic. For example, Redditt said, staff will shop for folks who do not feel safe coming into the store, and the groceries can be picked up curbside. Last Friday, Kim Schwenk could be overheard on the phone with a customer as she roamed through the produce section and filled a cart. “Now, I know you like raspberries,” Schwenk said at one point. Later, she listed the specific varieties of mushrooms that Harvest Moon had in stock, and compared different brands of cheddar cheese—some were on sale; some were not.
And while Harvest Moon has often gone out of its way for local folks, Redditt said the love is mutual. “The community was great, you know, they really supported (the store),” Redditt said. “It was awesome, because it would be cheaper to get (these foods) somewhere else. And because they supported it, it allowed me to grow,” she said.
Redditt became interested in the natural food industry after she became a mother, she said. “I was very young and I had two young children…and all of the sudden I was like, ‘What am I going to feed these babies?’” she said. Redditt knew she didn’t want to feed her children the way she had often fed herself over the years, with junk food or food with artificial colors and ingredients. Redditt said folks in the natural food industry are “kind of forefront thinkers…they all have different quirky environmental issues.”
The guiding principle of Harvest Moon, though, has always been simple: To get “as clean of a product as we can,” Redditt said, meaning nothing artificial in the ingredient list. “I think the people who shop here regularly really trust us and they appreciate the research that we do,” she said, adding, “Most of the time, they’re more knowledgeable (than I am.)”
The natural food industry has kept Redditt engaged for more than 40 years. “I just find it so interesting, and it’s kept my interest, which is not easy to do,” she said. “(Work) is where you are most of your life, so it needs to be something that you enjoy.” As she prepares to move on from Harvest Moon, though, she said she has no intention of slowing down. When it’s safe to travel again, Redditt said she hopes to do lots of that, including a visit with her son in Washington state, who she hasn’t seen all year.
Redditt said she’s “pretty active,” and in addition to playing more sports, including swimming and bike-riding near her new home in Blacksburg, she also hopes to find “a next step…where I can give back.” Redditt used to serve on the board of Plenty! Farm and Food Bank in Floyd. She said she’d like to continue doing, “something like that, where I would really have time to give input.”
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