By Ben Sanchez
As sunlight starts peeking into the large windows at Farout Foliage, an array of plants soak up the sun on a breezy day in downtown Stockton. The window displays on East Market Street feature a variety of plants that line the floors, shelves, and tables inside the storefront. Before opening the door, you are greeted by more succulents placed along the sidewalk. Each row of plants gives off this feeling as if they are trying to reach out to you. Large, leafy plants sprout up from containers hoping clients will pick them up to take home. A woman gently wipes each leaf, arranging the intimate space before opening hours. “Hey there! Thanks for stopping by,” says Nessie Huffhines, owner of Farout Foliage.
Huffhines offers a warm welcome to her first storefront establishment in downtown Stockton. In 2019, she operated a small pop-up space at Weberstown Mall. “I was in the mall for half a year in 2019. After December, I felt confident enough to expand. I eventually found this cute place downtown,” she says. “We have been here for about a year now, coming up in July.” The storefront opened in early February of 2020 until the pandemic forced small businesses to close. During this time, she planned accordingly in order to adapt through the pandemic. “It was difficult and stressful, but gave me time to think about strategizing my business accordingly with the new space,” she says.
Art prints of Léon: The Professional lean against the wall waiting to be framed for the shop. The art prints spark a memory from my recollection of the film. She vividly describes scenes from the film, specifically with Léon and his plant. “Do you remember that movie? He always had the small plant with him. When they moved to each hotel, he would carry it and care for the plant throughout the film,” she says. Her pop culture reference exudes a passion and friendship to spark our next conversation about the surrounding plant life she submerges herself in on a daily basis. We sat down with her to talk more about the business, her vision, and day trips to California nurseries.
Meet Nessie Huffhines, owner of Farout Foliage.
Throughout her travels, Huffhines has collected 500 plants for her own personal collection. Born in Torrance, California, she moved to Stockton around age 11. “I’m an L.A. girl… but I grew up in Stockton,” she says.
While she never intended on building a business around plants, her husband suggested investing in something you are genuinely passionate about for your business. “I knew I wanted to start a business. My husband said to focus on the plants. It was spontaneous — plants were the last thing I thought of.” she says. “Now it has evolved into something I never imagined.”
With the collection of plants growing at home, Huffhines curiosity for exotic succulents extend across California. She planned trips to southern California visiting nurseries in San Diego for cacti before venturing off to Folsom, Daly City, Vacaville, and San Ramon. In between researching nurseries and developing the business, she juggled different names for the shop before deciding on Farout Foliage. “I was working another job at the time… I had a coworker who was a big hippie lady. She was awesome! She always said ‘farout’ when she thought something was cool,” she says. “I thought about that moment — I felt it went with my theme for the business.”
Her passion for the preservation and presentation of each plant is evident inside Farout Foliage. “I’m always learning and growing. When I visit nurseries to pick up plants, I inquire about the details and learn from others’ experiences with each plant,” she says.
Although the storefront is limited, the space emits a relaxing aura that is a great escape from the frantic, fast paced life. “It is a very cozy, welcoming environment,” she says. “I always look for lush, healthy plants to display. I want to find something people would want to take home and brighten up their day.”
Nestled between a few midsized plants, one small plant on the shelf with interesting leaf patterns captured our attention. She calls out the plant name without hesitation. “That’s a string of turtles!” she says. Each plant, accompanied by handwritten labels, offers a small insight to the nature and origin of the plant. As we observe the space, Huffhines can name every plant across the room. Whether it is a snake plant, Monstera, Zebra Haworthia or Blue Torch cacti, each unique plant needs a different type of care from the owner. “Almost all the plants in my shop I own at home. I share my experiences with customers on how to care for each of them,” she says.
What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
Always be honest. Be honest with your customers and be more of a friend to them.
What is more comfortable than being with a friend?
Why downtown Stockton?
I have always been interested in where I live and what it has to offer. I wanted to be part of the movement.
What is your favorite plant?
Right now I’m really in love with my begonia maculata!
Always be honest.
Be honest with your customers and be more of a friend to them.Nessie Huffhines
Hang in there.
Did you know one of her services is interior plant design for home and office space?
Huffhines knowledge of plants extends beyond her shop, visiting other businesses and clients to evaluate what type of plant arrangements would thrive in interior spaces. From plant care to placement, her consulting advice and ideas can bring more life to your work or home space!
You can inquire about plants, maintenance, and additional services by contacting her via phone or social media. See a plant featured on her social media? Send a direct message to custom order.
Address: 239 E. Market St.
Hours: Monday – Friday | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday | 12 – 4 p.m.