Phenomenal bargain for organic veggies, and fun
By: Donna Herring (Mar 9, 2009)
I have been a subscriber to Garden Patch Produce for three of the last five years, opting out in the years we would be travelling most of the summer. My family has split a share with another family every year, and found that one share easily provides nearly all the veggies for 3-4 adults and 2 kids all summer and lots of fruit in the fall. I say "nearly all the veggies" because we sometimes buy from the retail grocer some things that aren't up in the GPP garden yet. However, we also get so much garlic (at our request for any extra she cares to send our way!) that we are eating GPP garlic well into the winter, and we also dry and can some of our share in part because she provides an option to request extras of anything that overruns the garden (like of course zucchini and tomatoes but also when the weather forces a huge crop of broccoli all at the same time or the apples are dropping fast).
Trish grows a WIDE variety of common and some exotic veggies and heirloom varietals. She provides recipes in a weekly email newsletter and will gladly send you more recipes on request. Most years there are also flowers and honey to go around. Sometimes we get wild greens, like lamb's quarters in the spring, or wild fruits like ground cherries. She got chickens last year, so maybe this year there will be eggs!
Our share of the work has been 6-10 hours over a couple of weekends (usually one near the beginning of the season and one near the end) and has included transplanting sprouts and seedlings in the greenhouse, preparing beds for planting, planting, mulching, harvesting and cleaning veggies, and sending her copies of articles on relevant topics or collecting bags and berry boxes for reuse. As you leave after your work session she always sends you home with a goodie -- the best one in my book was an extra bunch of asparagus the day I harvested it. She is always clear about when the work to be done is not appropriate for small children (weeding is one of those) and when it is perfect for kids of all ages (pulling potatoes can be a gleeful job if covering all of your 30"-tall body in dirt is a goal).
We first lived in a location where we had to remember to pick up our veggies from the farm on Monday afternoons, and that proved hard for our family and frustrating for the farmer (she wants the veggies to be enjoyed at their best and if the day is very hot the lettuces might have wilted and been wasted by the time we get them off her porch at 9 pm -- I learned to make cold lettuce soup, it's like gazpacho with fewer tomatoes). We have since moved to a location nearer other subscribers and there are enough of us that GPP delivers, and that has worked out wonderfully.