Come visit us and try our tools.
We visited Keith Stewart's Farms at the end of August 2010. Keith's garlic led to the invention of the Hooke 'n Crooke®(see "About Us") We visited his Organic vegetable farm and talked about growing techniques and tools.
The organizer for the Youth Conservation Corp in New Mexico recently ordered 10 Herons for his youth group. This program employs youth in public projects, such as agriculture and trail clearing. He told me one of the challenges they have is that the kids don’t know how to use tools and can be aggressive with them. They often send out 15 kids with 15 tools and return with 15 kids and 15 broken tools. He said he liked the durability and rigidity of our Hooke ‘n Crooke. He also said he liked that our tool stayed on the ground, keeping the kids focused on their work with their heads down. From a supervisor’s point of view, this was great, normally they watch teens swinging hoes above their heads. They no longer see shiny tools in the air above the kids heads. He also pointed out that the tools deal with the rooted puncture vines or Goatheads and Russian Thistles much better than the tools they had been using.
- We will be launching the new Hooke 'n Crooke® garden tool models, Heron and Hummingbird at this years CT Flower & Garden show. Stop by our booth for a demo and trial use.
- Feb 19th- Feb 22nd
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and gave us feedback. We are continuing to streamline our site and our products. We look forward to seeing you at our next show.
The Hooke ‘n Crooke® was developed from the frustration of having to drag multiple tools around behind me as I tended my garden. It all began with a TV program about a NY organic garlic grower, Keith Stewart, one of the longest-standing purveyors at NYC’s Union Square Greenmarket.
I bought 10 pounds of bulbs on my first attempt at growing garlic. I had been watching cooking programs at the time and was using a lot of garlic. I thought I could grow my own and maybe sell some of the extra bulbs.
I set up my garden, planted my cloves and waited. A few days after the first rain a green haze covered the entire garden. I tried using a power tiller to weed in between my rows, but too often it would jump and skip from the rocks in the soil and end up in my plants. I then resorted to hand tools for the task of weeding. I had to drag along 5 different tools behind me as I cleared the weeds. These tools were only good for one or two tasks each. I became frustrated with the task of weeding and dragging all these tools with me. It was just too much work and I let the garlic become overgrown with weeds. I thought I might just give up on gardening all together unless there was a way that took less work and put some enjoyment back into gardening. I couldn’t be out there, bending over, being on my knees and then trying to get back up again every time I saw a weed.
I still wanted to pursue my interest in growing my own garlic and other vegetables and thought to myself, “isn’t there a better tool out there?” I began looking at the tools my Grandfather used, antique tools and modern day tools, but no one tool would work well enough. I had an idea and took a blacksmithing class to learn the basics of forging. From a bar of steel and three hours of forging I came out with my first prototype. I purchased my own forging equipment from antique tool auctions. My inquiries grew about the characteristics of different types of steel. I learned that the toughness and flexibility could be controlled by hardening and tempering the steel. This process could make the steel stronger and add some spring to the blade which would keep it from breaking or bending. Through much trial and error and many cold winter nights down in the barn, I worked out my idea. I tested it in the next seasons’ garden to develop every detail of the tool, from the tip, to the curve, to the type of metal needed. Prototypes were put it into neighbor’s and family’s hands for testing. I refined the design and found that some people wanted a short handled version, for those who enjoy getting “down and dirty” in the garden. I tested the weight of the blade and handle and found that lighter handles and blades make you do more work. I went out to my garlic plants and found that I could get in between bulbs, down rows, chop weeds, and rake, all with one tool. I came back from my testing with a big smile on my face. I said to my wife, “This tool is so good that we have to make it, by Hook or by Crook.” My wife said, “There you go, that’s what you should call it, The Hooke‘n Crooke®.”
A year later, we have started going into production and had our first public showing at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show. I am also developing other tool ideas, tucked away in the back of my mind.