Oftentimes when I’m with my friend Jane McCutchen, the most ordinary excursion turns into an uplifting, fun-filled event.

Because Jane knows I’ve been depressed due to a vertigo situation, she called to ask if I wanted to accompany her to an organic agriculture store.

“Sure,” I said, willing to go anywhere if someone would drive.

Five minutes from my house she found Arbico Organics at 10831 N. Mavinee Drive in Oro Valley.

The simple entry gave no indication of how large an operation Arbico is. The retail store has organic weed control, pest control, fertilizers and lots of natural products for your garden, and, of all things, bugs that eat flies.

A young man, Benjamin, was on the phone but a lovely woman with long hair and a bright smile came out to greet us. Turns out her name is Terri but I think her name should be “Patience.”

Eager to learn about their products, we joked and laughed at some of the explanations. A man named Chris came out to help Jane get what she needed.

Curious when a second woman walked into the store to pick up a box near the front door, I asked, “What’s going on here?”

Laughing, the woman responded, “I pick up food here from The Farm Box,” the woman said. “Want to see what I bought?”

“Absolutely,” I said.

“Look at these tomatoes,” she said, letting me peek into a paper bag. “Take one,” she urged.

“Delicious!” I exclaimed. From there she showed me peaches, green beans, kale and some other stuff and gave me a card offering $5 off my first order.

As she walked out the door with her box, a tall, handsome stranger walked in. “Here’s the owner,” Terri exclaimed.

Rick Frey,” he said, holding out his hand.

“Hi,” I said, wishing I were 30 years younger.

“Are you a writer?” he asked. Amazed, I said, “Yes. How did you know?”

“I’m psychic,” he said, smiling. From there, he gave me a tour of the place, culminating in him introducing me to his beautiful wife, Sheri.

While he showed me around, Rick explained that he started the company over 30 years ago. With a degree in biology, he realized there was a need for products that would cure agricultural problems for farm, home and ranch, plus products to help pets.

Arbico Organics has about 50 employees, including people working on the farm.

By the time we left, Jane had purchased what she wanted and I bought soft wire tie in case any of my flowering plants grow large enough to be tied up, plus a product to control algae.

We were urged to return, with Rick saying the company has a master gardener on board. I can’t wait until the summer is over. With their help, I should be able to turn my backyard into Shangri-La.

Alexis Powers is the author of several books and lives on the northwest side. Email her at northwest@tucson.com or view her website at www.alexis-powers.com