The Well Fed Community Garden: Local Produce and Volunteering

Wherever you go, there are going to be pockets of communities that hold the same values as you do, but it is up to you to find them. This requires you to know what your values are.

The Feasting on Fusion brand values supporting local comunities and small businesses, local food, sourcing responsibly, and the fusion of worldy ingredients to make something new and refreshing.

This is where the Well Fed Community Garden (WFCG) comes in. A lush, systematically overgrown farm-like land area that houses its managers Morgan, Compton, Hannah and Alli, parked right off Athens Drive and Avent Ferry Road, all owned by Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh, NC (not a non-profit). In the front is a pollinator garden filled with variety of fruits and veggies that are not commonly grown, and in the back is a pizza oven/lounging/work area with hydroponics houses, greenhouses, and rows and rows of veggies all grown to be used at the Irregardless Cafe and for the local community of friends, workers and volunteers. You wouldn’t notice any of this driving by it, but it is an evergreen lifesource in the heart of a urban-suburban sprawl.

Here are just a few of the things that are grown in the summertime:

The first thing I noticed that day I volunteered was the Red Bud tree in front of the house and the way the sun was shining on it. These trees grow pea-pod looking vegetation that is edible and it actually a native local to North Carolina. I love the transparent yellow color they get.

perilla-leaf
Shiso Leaves

Also known as perilla leaves, these are very prevalent in Japanese and South Korean dishes. Often used as a vessel to eat pickled pr sauteed vegetables, proteins, and rice cakes (deok).

There is a successful peach tree on the property, with delicious looking fruit. They looked especially orange during the sunset.

elderberry-2
Elderberry Tree, ripened berries

Best known for its medicinal properties, helping in cold/flu prevention – the elderberry tree grows beautifully colored, tiny, round fruits. They are juicy, slightly nutty, fruity and very sweet. Once they were picked, they were frozen, and will later be made into the most delicious Elderberry jam. Great on biscuits and toast– and your immune system will thank you for it!

black-berries
Blackberry bushes

These apples were grown on a bamboo trellis, meticulously woven as it grew over the years. I am unsure of the exact type of apple that is being grown, but the fact that it’s not growing from a tree makes me excited!

mushroom-logs
Shiitake Mushroom Logs

The Hardy Kiwifruit (shown above) grows fruit in the heated summers of the Southern U.S. Best described by the Horticulture department at NC State University, “Hardy kiwifruit (A. arguta, A. kolomikta) are much smaller than A. deliciosa in size. Their size is similar to that of a grape and few are larger than a man’s thumb. Instead of the fuzzy skin, A. arguta has a smooth, edible skin. On the interior, hardy kiwifruit resemble fuzzy kiwifruit in color, texture and flavor, though they are usually described as having more intense flavor and sweetness. From our experience, the fruit is best when soft-ripe at harvest” (Horticulture Information Leaflet 208, Mainland)

asparagus-seeding
Asparagus berries and leaves

This is what asparagus plants look like before the asparagus actually grow. They take a long time to settle and create a root system, around 1-3 years. But once they do, new stems will emerge in bounty in the spring. BEWARE: asparagus berries are toxic to humans.

Flowers flowers, everywhere! Summer was a glorious time to see vibrant colored blooms. I especially liked the fuschia-colored dahlia.

passionfruit-flower
Passionfruit Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) – Common in NC

Not usually known as a Southern U.S. fruit, the Passiflora Incarnata is common among local fruit growers. Not to be confused with its slightly more popular relative, the South American Passiflora Edulis, this one grow green, and is ripe when it becomes slightly yellow and wrinkly. Though it looks very different from the more popular one, it’s just as delicious and flavorful when ripe!**

Burgundy okra is a more pretty version of the regular green okra. It tastes very similar and has the same texture. It grows pretty quickly, so be sure to watch it so that it doesn’t overgrow and become fibrous and tough.

basil-hydroponics
Basil grown in a hydroponic greenhouse
wood-fire-oven
Woodfire pizza oven made of stucco
community-2
Wine and Weeds Volunteers, August 2016

 

Where do I go to eat these veggies?

Volunteer! Or visit the restaurant. Their brunch is the best brunch I have ever had, featuring complimentary orange juice, coffee, and tiny cakes and biscuits, plus seasonal veggies and fusion breakfast options, from cheese blintzes, or a french quiche, to the good ole southern omelette and grits, I have never been disappointed.

CONTACT INFO:

*https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/kiwifruit
** http://www.appalachianfeet.com/2009/09/11/how-to-grow-passionfruit-in-the-backyard/
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