Sunday, April 10, 2011

FNFCG Caravan Report - Arlington Community Garden

Ah, gentle gardeners - I have a bad case of garden envy. Today was the first of our FNFCG  Caravans to area community gardens, with today's destination: Arlington Community Garden.  A beautiful location. Since the Arlington Community Garden will be the location of the 2011 Jacksonville Seed Swap and Community Garden Expo, I was really checking them out. Having seen the place, I can't wait for the next Expo! This is the kind of place I'd like to take my family for a picnic - scenic and peaceful.

  • Fabulous paved parking with some shade very close to the garden space.
  • This part of Arlington is quite hilly, so the grounds have this rolling presence to them.
  • Plenty of open grassy areas and shade from the surrounding trees.
  • An amphitheater which was used today for cooking demonstrations by Chef Scott Schwartz from 29 South Restaurant in Fernandina Beach. A leek and oyster ragu topped with pork tenderloin and dressed with smoked paprika oil - delicious.

I must admit that I spent more time with the Chef than with the gardeners.  Okay, I have a weakness - we call it FOOD! But listening to a local chef talking about farm to table and cultivating the relationships with the area farmers, I was struck by his comment "shake the hand that feeds you". Yes! There is something more to local food than just the abstract concepts - there is that relationship that develops between you and the food producer. To know the name of the person that grows your food, not just the location. I like it.

The community garden is very beautiful. It is fenced in with a 4' black powder coated fenced and the paths are lined with mulch. There are a number of benches nestled into nooks under shade trees - just lovely. Hose bibs are sprinkled around the garden for watering with collections of watering cans at their base. I attended with a friend who has grown up in Arlington and actually used to keep her horse in a stable on the same grounds that the garden now uses.  I was unaware that there used to be stables in that location 30 or so years ago - fascinating!

Lone Star Stables - where Arlington Community Garden is today
Steph is going to kill me when she sees this!

If you didn't make it today, you really must pay a visit to the Arlington Community Garden.  I wished that I could have stayed longer and found out more about the garden, but it was also Tour de Farm today and I was on a mission to try to get to at least a few stops on the Tour. So many great locations, so little time!

I hope to get a chance very soon to come out again to this very lovely garden and spend some time with the gardeners getting to know the location in depth.

 Did you Caravan to the Arlington Community Garden? Won't you share your experience in a comment?

Click here to contact Arlington Community Garden