Are you in the market for local sources of lovingly grown fresh fruits and vegetables? And what do you do when your garden is yielding more delicious produce than you know what to do with?
In either of these cases The Farmer’s Garden may be the perfect solution for sharing or locating surplus homegrown fruits and vegetables. Today’s entry is a conversation with Maureen Farmer, creator of The Farmer’s Garden, a new website devoted to connecting backyard gardeners with families in search of high-quality, locally grown food!
Veggie Gardening Tips: How did your interest in gardening and growing your own food begin?
The Farmer’s Garden: Four years ago, I tried vegetable gardening in one 3 by 6 cedar raised bed to save money and become more self-sufficient. I was so thrilled with the results that the next year I enrolled in the Connecticut Master Gardener program. I had a new found passion for growing vegetables and wanted to become more knowledgeable about gardening.
To become a master gardener, one of the requirements is that you need to volunteer a minimum of thirty hours on a garden related community outreach project of your choice. I volunteered thirty plus hours on an urban nonprofit organic farm in my city, and for the past two years have been a member of their board of directors.
Veggie Gardening Tips: What do you enjoy the most about growing produce in the garden, and what are some of your favorite activities?
The Farmer’s Garden: Every year I have built another raised bed on the west side of my house. I grow more varieties of vegetables every year and even built a cold frame so that I can start lettuce and spinach from seeds for an early spring harvest.
I usually pick more produce than I can eat, freeze and give away. I soon realized that I really enjoy giving my extra vegetables away to my family, friends, and neighbors. People seem genuinely happy to receive a bag of mixed greens or a zucchini and their happiness reflects back onto me.
Veggie Gardening Tips: How did you come up with the idea for the Farmer’s Garden and exactly what is it about?
The Farmer’s Garden: My profession is web developer/project manager and this spring I taught myself the PHP programming language to supplement my existing skills. The more skills I have listed on my resume, the sooner I will be able to find a job in these tough times. To practice, I created The Farmer’s Garden (www.thefarmersgarden.com) website so everyone can have access to locally grown food.
The Farmer’s Garden is the place to post free classified ads to sell, trade, or give away your excess backyard produce. Individuals and food pantries can also register to post wanted classifieds. If you’re looking for fresh locally grown produce, visit The Farmer’s Garden website, enter your US zip code, select the radius that you are willing to travel and see what people in your area have to offer.
Veggie Gardening Tips: Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your new website focused on sharing and finding fresh garden produce or about backyard gardening in general?
The Farmer’s Garden: Eating healthy nutritious food, knowing where your food comes from and supporting your local community are important. Share your surplus harvest with your neighbors. You’ll be surprised how good a small act of kindness will make you feel.
Saving money or making a little extra is also good, especially in today’s economy. Many backyard gardeners also grow varieties of produce not found in your local grocery store. This is a terrific opportunity to taste new foods.
If you don’t know how to prepare something, ask the grower. He or she will probably offer you several tasty recipes to try. You might even make a new friend in the process. The Farmer’s Garden is new, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for at first, try again next week. We’re growing every day.
Veggie Gardening Tips: Thank you Maureen for stopping by to share your new project with us. I think it’s a great idea and hope that others register and that the listings really take off for you! I’m in the directory and plan to start posting produce from my garden as the summer goes on.
Maureen Farmer is a master gardener and has loved plants all her life. She enjoys growing most of her own produce in raised beds. She hopes to have a greenhouse someday so that she can grow vegetables year round. You can join in sharing the delights of a local backyard garden by visiting The Farmer’s Garden.
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