POCASSET – The Valley Farm Thrift Shop art sale started bright, clear and brisk Saturday morning where County Road begins to turn into Cataumet.
The county-owned thrift store on the grounds is in its 14th year, and the ever-growing community garden behind the grounds has provided food pantry items for Friends of Bourne and operates 98 plots on 1.5 acres.
for nine years.
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The garden is based on a relationship with the Boerne Society for Historic Preservation and relies on local grants, support from the Boerne Methodist Church and local business donations. It is used by multi-generational and multi-family gardeners.
The origin of the garden is in the old hospital
The store and garden were part of the Barnstable County Hospital complex, which was demolished in 2002. The garden provides fruits and vegetables to the hospital with tuberculosis patients. Therefore, the tract remains an agricultural operation. But there is a catch.
The thrift store and garden are tenants-at-will of Barnstable County Government.
The county also owns a thrift store and community garden tract, as well as land north of Dr. Julius Kelly Drive, west of County Road to the former county hospital site where Cape Cod Senior Residences is located.
. Several properties adjacent to the store and gardens were finalists for a new fire station site.
It is the whole county parcel.
About 50 acres.
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County commissioners are willing to sell the tract near Dr. Julius Kelly Drive and the Boerne Board of Selectmen is authorized to spend up to $900,000 on the purchase. But the board doesn’t want to spend that much money on acreage, land Bor can never use.
Commissioners, City Administrator Marlene McCollum said, did not respond to a letter about a sale or the price tag. So, the gift shop and gardening activities remain boring.
“Looking back, this was an amazing project,” said Diane Spears of Pocasset, gift shop manager, garden director, planner and steering group member. “Many years. It’s everything we set out to be – multi-family gardeners, hard work, 500 pounds of food for the food pantry, and ultimately healthy eating.”
The Speers have been at work since the cooperative when the valley farm tract was wild, weed-choked, overgrown and largely forgotten. Now the wood chip paths through the gardens are straight at right angles, the plots are enclosed.
“We have maintained the agricultural use of this property since it supported the hospital,” she says. “This is what we thought. That’s what we did. It was an amazing project. “
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In those early days when volunteers cleared the garden, Cataumet’s David Dimmick was high up on an old fruit tree in the middle of the tract, hacking and slashing, cutting off the strangling vines. They are watched closely by gardeners and gardeners to see if the tree will survive.
The tree is standing today, a kind of messenger, maybe a sign in the place of command. It is still a work in progress. Fruitful.
Drought, critters are a challenge for gardeners.
The garden survived this year’s drought. Although the gardeners were diligent in maintaining their work, water consumption was not so bad. Next year there will be 100 places. But finding gardeners and volunteers is becoming increasingly difficult.
“People are going back to work after Covid,” Speers said. “At the end of the day, they don’t have time to garden. So this year we had a great blueberry crop, but no pumpkins. It is labor intensive. Lack of volunteers. The holiday was not in effect during COVID.
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There are other challenges as well. Especially villains. Deer, wild turkeys, voles and woodchucks.
“They love tomatoes,” Speers said. “Everybody has tomatoes here.”
The goal is to create a healthier sustainable garden. Next year, there will be a squash palace with peas, lettuce, cabbage and butternut squash.
“We want to grow more efficiently,” Speers said. “And we’ll have a ‘long bed’ for gardeners who can’t bend over or get up anymore. But you still want to make a garden.
Speers eschew state aid. She prefers local aid and building relationships with city and local businesses; including Bay’s End Farm in Buzzard Bay and Bogside Farm in Katowice.
At noon, the Saturday sun was high. The art sale was closing. Historical society members Bill Towne, Joan O’Brien and Louise Innis were chatting with Jim Sullivan who was interested in purchasing the ship’s art.
The morning is gone. New shadows were created. The gardens are empty. next to? The water is shut off in the first week of November, typically when the first frost occurs.
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Volunteer Jean Hills looked around behind the spread, with one more work session scheduled for Friday.
“It looks like this place is ready to close,” Hills said.
To donate to the thrift store/garden, send checks to Valley Farm Community Garden, PO Box 125, Pocasset, MA 02557.
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