Gardens and farm markets offer more than fresh produce

Posted 6 August 2022 at 9:55 am


Since my husband and I have owned our home we have grown a garden nearly every year. Our garden is not to grow produce, our garden is to grow our children.

We are so blessed to live in a community that grows fresh delicious produce that we can buy at a roadside stand or in the grocery store; where we know most of the producers or have heard of them, for an incredibly reasonable price pretty much anytime we want. Our garden reminds me to be so grateful to our local farmers who produce our food and also how incredibly reasonably we are able to purchase such great produce.

It also makes me very grateful to a couple from our church, Glen and Linda, who grow beautiful produce in abundance that they graciously share with our church family. Watching the kids run to the playground, each with a cucumber in their hand eating it like an apple, or with cups of blueberries and cherries is such a blessing.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you a few lessons that my children have learned so far this season.

  1. It only takes one time of leaving the gate open for the rabbits to enjoy our plants.
  2. Little brothers can not tell the difference between a weed that needs to be pulled and one of our pepper plants.
  3. Bugs can consume large quantities of leaves and hinder the growth of our plants.
  4. If you are asked to go out and harvest the kale and you aren’t positive that you are picking kale, maybe come in and ask Mommy before picking a bag full of cauliflower leaves.
  5. The legs of the rain catching basin should be aligned or it will tip over, and dragging the hose out is a lot harder than getting water from the basin.

Yes, we have had a few challenges this growing season; but what they learned this summer and will continue learning will benefit them so much in their future. Learning that despite challenges, if you don’t give up, you can still grow delicious produce. Learning that mistakes and setbacks happen, but that they can still smile and know that God designed plants with the ability to overcome those challenges, just like our beautiful children can overcome obstacles they may face in their life. That weeds may grow beside them and try to block out the Sun (or Son) but that they can dig in their roots (to the Bible) and grow bigger and stronger despite those challenges.

The garden provides so many opportunities for great conversations, and learning lessons for our children. Plus the joy on my children’s faces as they see the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes ripening! The excitement when they come running into the house with a cucumber that they put so much work towards warms my soul!

I would encourage anyone to start a small garden and allow this garden to grow your children, not just some fresh produce!

Also, August 6 and 7, is a local farm market hop. Where you can go to a few farm markets and get to see the abundance of local produce and treasures from a few of our local producers. There are 6 farm markets participating and you can purchase a basket for $10 at your first stop and then at each subsequent stop specific free produce will be added. Plus get your ticket stamped at each location and you can be entered for a chance to win a farm market hop basket filled with goodies from each market.  Enjoy local and family-run farm markets, collect great produce, discover what makes each farm market unique, and what we all have in common – amazing homegrown fruits and veggies!

How to participate:

1. Start at the farm of your choice

  • Partyka Farms – 1420 County Line Road, Kendall NY 14476
  • Kirby’s Farm Market – 9739 W Ridge Rd, Brockport, NY 14420
  • Navarra’s Farm and Greenhouse – 3272 Eagle Harbor Waterport Rd, Albion, NY 14411
  • Robert’s Farm Market – 11170 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina, NY 14103
  • Brightly’s Farm Market – 525 Drake Rd, Hamlin, NY 14464
  • Circle R Fruit Farm – 13490 Roosevelt Hwy, Waterport, NY 14571

2. Purchase a Farm Market Hop basket for $10 at your first stop.

3. Travel to all participating markets to fill your basket with free produce.

4. Each farm will contribute a different item to your basket, and in the end you’ll have a basket full of beautiful fruits and veggies.

5. Get your ticket stamped at each market. (Visit all 6 Farm Markets and drop off your stamp tag at your final destination to be entered for a chance to win the Market Hop Gift Basket, full of goodies donated by each farm.)

6. Head home after a day of touring your local farm markets, to enjoy all of those delicious fruits and veggies!

Kerri Richardson