SHREWSBURY: GARDENERS EAT THEIR OWN

091414 shrwsbry gdn feast3Community gardeners celebrating their harvest at the garden, located adjacent to Borough Hall. Below, Pam MacNeill and Maureen Collins in the gazebo. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091414 shrwsbry gdn feastSipping wine amid tables festooned with bouquets of flowers, the Shrewsbury community gardener’s celebrated the end of the growing season with a potluck dinner recently.

In the gazebo, a table laden with casseroles and salads made from this year’s harvest looked like a picture from a home and garden magazine.

091414 shrwsbry gdn feast4Community garden members brought dishes made from the produce harvested from their gardens. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Inaugurated three years ago, the garden, located on Borough Hall property, has fulfilled its objectives as a both growing ground and a place for residents to interact, said members.

“Shrewsbury doesn’t have a downtown; this has become our downtown,” said Della Benevides, the community garden’s secretary.

Prior to the creation of the garden, “when our kids were done with school, we didn’t see each other any more,” she said.

“The social aspects of the garden has turned out to be a bonus for us,” Pam MacNeill added.

What was on the menu? Every dish had a bit of  something grown in the garden. Corn salsa and tomato salsa with chips graced the table next to cucumber salads, with onions and without. A colorful heirloom tomato salad also made an appearance.  Entrees included chicken parm made with fresh tomato sauce, stuffed mushrooms, and a zucchini, squash, and corn casserole with a crumb topping.

Breaking bread, the gardeners agreed it had been a great year for tomatoes and cucumbers, while the zucchini didn’t seem to pull its weight. With most dishes on the table containing some form of tomato, it was clear, the tomato bounty won out as best crop of the year.

As in the past, the gardeners again “gave a lot of produce to Lunch Break this year,” McNeill said.

How can you get a garden plot for next year? There will be a meeting in January, but the current gardeners are offered their original plots first. They have a month to decide if they want to sign up. If there are plots left at that point, they are open to anyone in Shrewsbury.

This volunteer-driven garden comes with a lengthy set of rules ad regulations.