photo c/o Janet Morra

This year, the garden at Mariandale is yielding a bounty. Beets, scallions, purslane, eggplant, Swiss chard, collard greens, kale, tomatoes, pole beans, zucchini, winter squash, watermelons, cantaloupe, herbs are all plentiful. And then there’s the garlic— over 150 bunches of it.

“The garlic was gorgeous,” said Regina Blakeslee, master gardener at the Center. “We save the biggest bulbs we have and then we plant the best of the crop in the fall. By spring, we have really good garlic, and it’s bigger than the average.”

All of these treats and more go to Fred’s Food Pantry in Ossining every Friday. Last week’s bundle weighed 61 pounds.

Regina Blakelsee harvests at Mariandale photo c/o Janet Morra

The deliveries will continue through the fall, as late as November. Soon, the harvest will include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and basil, all of which ripen later in the summer. 

According to Blakeslee, the quality of the freshly picked, “biodynamic” produce is much better than conventional fruits and vegetables at the store.

“It’s really good, nutritious food,” Blakeslee said. “We’re sending food that has vitality to the food pantry. That’s the important thing.”

photo c/o Janet Morra

The produce at Fred’s Pantry photo c/o Janet Morra

Donating carefully grown food to our local community isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s a manifestation of the sisters’ mission of care of the Earth and ministry to the poor. As Dominican Sister of Hope Cass McDonnell, OP wrote in an email, the garden gives the congregation “an opportunity to meet the needs of our community by providing fresh quality fruits and vegetables for our local food pantry.”

“This garden represents our continued efforts to care for the Earth and to eagerly meet the needs of our neighbors both of which are so central to carrying out our mission,” Sister Cass wrote on behalf of the Leadership Team. “We are more than grateful for our wonderfully nurturing gardeners who created the garden and made it into a producer of incredibly healthy produce.”

photo c/o Janet Morra

photo c/o Janet Morra

photo c/o Janet Morra