Feather Acres Farm and Nursery, above Flower Hill Promenade, is a somewhat secret neighborhood spot that's shared by beautiful orchids and charismatic goats.
Pamela Kramer Glickman said it's a place to slow down from the fast pace of life.
Neighbor Helen Wallace called it a "piece of Eden" where she walks her Chihuahua daily.
The nursery is housed in a greenhouse with dirt floors where the breeze rushes through and ruffles the wall of bouquet ribbons. Potted flowers share displays with birdhouses and cabinets and benches overflowing with flowering vines.
Owner Vicky Van Arsdale loves her job for the ability to be outside and spend time with her animals. But the relationship she has with customers is a treat, too.
"We do feel like we're connected to our customer's lives," Van Arsdale said. "There's always a reason for flowers, be it a forgotten anniversary or a wedding."
The farm has been at its hilltop location since 1942, when Jean and Larry Overdorf bought the land. Photos in a dusty album show the tree-less property looking out over a vacant Del Mar, straight to the ocean.
Now lush with trees, the Overdorfs planted the trees to fight off the wind — Jean planted one towering Torrey pine on the property years ago from a tiny seed.
They started their farm business in 1957 with cows and chickens. Jean started raising orchids as a hobby but "it soon got out of control," Van Arsdale said.
Soon, Feather Acres evolved from farm to nursery as part of the prominent cut flower industry in the area. They had a shop where US Bank and Armstrong's is now off Via de la Valle but lost their lease when Flower Hill Promenade was developed.
Van Arsdale started working for the Overdorfs 32 years ago. Larry died a couple years before Jean, who died in 1996 — they left the farm to Van Arsdale.
"Jean and Larry were so good about being part of the community," Van Arsdale said. "We have a lot of regulars, some who have been coming for 40 years."
Feather Acres started out selling trees and shrubs, but changed gears when the big wholesale nurseries started springing up, Van Arsdale said.
They focused more on orchids, floral designs and bedding plants — "Anything with a flower," Van Arsdale said.
Neighbors enjoy their farm atmosphere — there are chickens, ducks, horses and ponies. The goats are suckers for attention, and there's one lone turkey. Suki, the nursery cat, also has quite a following, Van Arsdale said.
Feather Acres has hosted birthday parties, and it offers pony rides most Saturdays for $5.
"There is a continuous stream of children coming to see the animals," Van Arsdale said. "It's become quite the popular destination for grandparents who want to expose their grandchildren to a place like this."
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