Today I am excited to announce the expansion of Piscasaw Gardens to a new location and a vastly increased product line-up. Our home-grown cut flowers continue to play a prominent role -and still take up a lot of acreage, but we are also growing 25 acres of fruits and vegetables. 15 acres of this is Mirai sweet corn, that amazing corn developed here in Harvard by the sweetcorn gurus at Twin Garden Farms.
Which leads me to the topic of this blog: Heritage. Piscasaw Gardens was born out of heritage and continues because of heritage. 12 years ago my grandmother, Selma Davidson, helped me begin to grow cut flowers. My love of all growing things flourished through her influence in my childhood, and also that of my mother, Janet Davidson and her mother, Mildred Blum. They gently corrected me and encouraged me when, in my youthful enthusiasm, I committed fatal errors such as planting bulbs root-side up. I was also a tag-along to my dad, Walter Davidson, a dairy farmer and field crop producer. I observed scouting and did soil sampling under his direction. Most importantly, my dad taught me that a farmer gets up and out to do the work no matter how wet, cold, windy or hot it is, and no matter how crappy one feels. My family is my first strong stream of farming heritage.
What began as a backyard hobby garden blossomed into a full-time passion. I still had so much to learn though. When the opportunity to become head grower of the garden at Twin Gardens opened up, I applied and they took me on as a mentee “head grower”. During my 9 years in that role, I grew into the position, through the mentorship of Cliff Ingersol. As many of you know, I quickly “infiltrated” their product line-up with cut flowers. We grew over five acres of cut flowers, over 15 acres of fruits and vegetables and Twin Gardens grew 80 acres of their famous corn annually. I am so grateful to Twin Gardens for my time with them. Thankfully, Cliff continues to mentor me in my new Mirai undertaking.
Yesterday we purchased the Brook farm on Lawrence Road in Harvard Illinois. Talk about heritage! Rich and Sonja built that whole farm with their own hands...the beautiful buildings and the land. They amended the soil to the point that in places it flows so softly through my fingers that it brings tears to my eyes. (Farmers get emotional about different sorts of things.) The Brooks grew vegetables and bedding flowers for decades and later moved into popcorn production, both growing and popping. While we have no plans for bedding plants in the foreseeable future, we are taking on the popcorn. My husband, Aaron, will be doing the popcorn, so look for that in our product selection, as well. We are so thankful for Rich and Sonja and we hope to honor their legacy on the farm.
So. Here we are -beginning and continuing all at the same time. We are grateful for all those that contributed to our heritage and we are thankful for you, our customers, and all that make our existence possible. Please come by the farm for a visit, or stop in and see us soon at one of our many farmers’ markets. We will be starting porch pick-up on the farm very soon for cut-flowers. As soon as vegetables come in mid-June, we will open our indoor storefront. We look forward to continuing to share the abundance that comes through our farming heritage, fresh from our fields and straight to your home!