Monday, November 8, 2010

Tree Planting and Celebration November 6th

We had a great turn-out for our tree planting and celebration on November 6th. The Garden now has about 15 trees growing around the property. We're excited to see them mature!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Busy Busy!

We continue to be very busy in the St. francis Community Garden!

First, the garden storage unit has had a complete make-over! It is now very structured and organized to accommodate all of the tools and garden accessories we need to keep our garden looking beautiful and producing well. Additionally, there is a bulletin/dry erase board inside to help us with communication and keep track of all of the garden activity. Thanks to the Fall weather - it is now a nice place to retreat as well!

Next, we will be employing Hagin's landscaping company to help us manage the weeds around the garden. A band of mulch will be spread around the perimeter of the garden to keep the weeds at bay. They will also be developing a storage system to help us organize the piles of mulch and topsoil that have become such an eyesore. Many thanks to Dot Russell and her grandson for weed eating around the perimeter - it looks so much better!

The compost tumbler is working great and our first batch of compost should be ready in several weeks. We have filled up the right compartment and are now adding exclusively to the left. If you notice either pile dry, please add a bit of water. This will help the material we have added decompose properly. Additionally, please don't forget to add a mixture of greens and browns to the compost tumbler (used coffee grounds and filter are an easy addition for a "brown"). thanks to some herbs that were trimmed (mostly basil), the compost actually smells quite nice.

Most excitingly, please make sure November 6th is marked on your calendars. TreesGreenville will be planting trees around our garden! Between 10 and 20 trees (from Maple trees to persimmon trees) will be donated and planted around the perimeter of the garden that morning. TreesGreenville will help in planting the trees, as well as provide education and guidance on properly maintaining the trees (and the fruit that some will produce). November 6th happens to be a scheduled Sprouting Saturday as well. I’m extremely excited about this addition!

Finally, despite the rain, we had a wonderful and productive Sprouting Saturday over the weekend. See pictures below:)

Mary Duckett & Vicki Ashley showing off some basil

Vicki Ashley, Dr. Boota & Dot Russell in the newly organized storage unit!

Cheryl Baxley, Susan Hubbard, Dot Russell, Vicki Ashley and "Mantis," our compost tumbler

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet Luke

Mrs. Mary Duckett, Adriana Vandross and Luke Howerter

Although slightly remiss in announcing, our Community Ministries department and the St. Francis Community Garden is happy to have Luke Howerter join us for a summer internship. Luke is a recent graduate from Furman University and a Servant Scholar through the Mere Christianity Forum. He received his undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Science and has a unique passion for gardening and a heightened interest in sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Currently in the 4th week of his internship, Luke has already completed so much. He has planned a new design for the two handicap beds that are in desperate need of some TLC. He has researched and ordered a compost tumbler for the garden, also creating an education sheet for it. In addition, he is working with Mrs. Peggy Baxter and her Odessa Street garden. This garden will be specifically focused for seniors.

At 35 hours a week for 10 weeks, this internship is an intense one. 50% of his time is dedicated to being outside the office in the community where there are undeserved in need. Luke will also be helping with the blog, among other things. We are so happy to welcome him to our team and garden! If you have any specific gardening questions, please feel free to contact him at

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Family's Favorite Dressings

Have you picked up a bottle of salad dressing lately and read the label? You might find some interesting ingredients like Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Cellulose Gel and Cellulose Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Maltodextrin, Propylene Glycol Alginate and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I will admit that those things regrettably sit on the shelves of my refrigerator. One can barely pronounce them, much less have a clue what they really are and ultimately know what the nutritional benefits may be. Since moving to the Upstate from the Low Country almost 2 years ago, we have enjoyed the bounty of locally grown produce, and tasted the difference in farm fresh milk and eggs.

Real food allowed to ripen on the vine needs little to add to the flavor; we are learning to savor what's in season. It all began with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers bought at Robert Jackson's road side stand just around the corner. We ate bowlfuls of them cut up with a simple dressing. Below are some of our family's favorite dressings and some simple salad variations. I've slowly stocked my cupboard and refrigerator with some basic oils and vinegars so that a dressing can be made in a few minutes. In taking the time to do this, you will avoid the list of preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers store bought dressings offer and instead introduce good simple nutrition and flavor to the table. The oils used provide Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids that promote heart health, stronger immune systems, better brain function and a long list of other health benefits. (for more information visit these websites and

The way I figure, if a food was served a thousand years ago, it's probably still worth eating today. Enjoy!!

Basic Vinaigrette: serve on any salad or drizzle some over a bowl of chopped up cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet onions, add olives, fresh basil and feta cheese if available.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
4 T red wine vinegar
4 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic salt (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp salt)
1 tsp Italian Herb blend (or either dried oregano or basil)
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until blended. (I use a jelly jar)

Raspberry Mustard Vinaigrette: this is great served with a spinach salad made with cut up strawberries, sweet onion, pecans or walnuts and either feta or gorgonzola cheese. You can substitute different fruit like apples or pears and add dried cranberries or cherries.
4 T Walnut oil (you can use olive or canola oils or any combination of them)
1 T Balsamic vinegar (if you don't have Raspberry syrup, a flavored Balsamic vinegar can be substituted)
1 T Raspberry Syrup (I found mine while visiting the Biltmore)
2 tsp Dijon style mustard
1/4 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until blended.

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette: serve over a bed of spring lettuce or spinach, pear, avocado, red or sweet onion and blue or gorgonzola cheese.
1/2 C Canola or Sunflower oil
1/3 C seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T minced fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp garlic power
pinch salt
Mix all ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until blended.


Diane Biedler

Monday, April 26, 2010


Recently, a plot owner sent this article link to me discussing "4 Good Reasons to Buy Local Food:"

It is worth your time to read it as it greatly justifies buying local produce. The question now is - where do you buy local produce? For your convenience, I have a put together a list to help link you to our local Upstate food resources.

Carolina First Saturday Market
South Main St. and McBee Ave.
May 1st - Oct. 30th
Saturdays, 8am - noon
Easley Farmers Market
205 N. First St. Easley
April 17-Oct. 2nd
Saturdays, 8am-noon

Fountain Inn Saturday Farmers Market
102 Depot St., Fountain Inn
June 5th - Oct. 30th
Saturdays, 8am - noon

Greenville State Farmers Market
1354 Rutherford Road, Greenville
Open year Round
Mon-Sat 8am-6pm
Tomato Vine
4120 Old Buncombe Rd., Greenville (Berea area)
Open year round
Mon-Sat. 8:30am-8pm; Sunday 9-7pm
Traveler's Rest Saturday Farmers Market
1 Center St., Traveler's Rest (behind Sunrift Adventures)
May - October
Saturdays, 9am-noon
Whole Food Tuesday Local Farmers Market
1140 Woodruff Rd., Greenville
May 4th - Oct. 26th
Tuesdays, 10am - 2pm

Additionally, here is a brief description and contact information for local farms in the Upstate area, many who specialize in berries, dairy or specific meats. As it is peak season for many things, you may find some useful info below. Be sure to call first to check conditions.
(adapted from the Happy Berry website (

Eric Hunter is located between Easley and Dacusville or off of 183 between Pickens and Greenville. 864 859 2978. (They have vegetables and flowers also.)
The Hardy family is located near Anderson. 854 224 5441. In addition to strawberries, they will have other berries, they are adding Peaches and they have built a store where they are selling whole wheat you can grind yourself.
Beechwood Farm
The Ledford’s are located near Marietta SC. The farm address is 204 Bates Bridge Road, Slater, SC 29683, if you want to Mapquest(TM) it. Their phone is 864 836 6075. They do not have a web site or an email that they check. They will have vegetables in season.
Rose Hill Plantation
The Corey’s are located near Powdersville at 1910 Three Bridges Rd. Their phone is 864 306 0303 and email is They have greenhouse strawberries as well as vegetables and flowers.
Happy Cow Creamery is a unique on-the-farm milk bottling operation offering high quality fresh milk directly from its own dairy cows. Their milk is non-homogenized milk that is pasteurized at 145 degrees instead of 165 degrees used in flash pasteurization. Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk and Cultured Buttermilk are just a few of the products offered at the on-site-store. Strawberries too. Located south of Greenville: 864 243 4801
Split Creek Farm Grade A Goat Dairy is in a barn designed and built by the owners to include the milking and cheese operations and a kid nursery. A retail gift shop featuring goat milk products and folk art is open to the public. Anderson, SC: 864 287 3921
Zehr's Peach Orchard
While we sometimes have peaches from the Zehr (pronounced zare) Peach Orchard for sale at The Happy Berry, to go directly to the source, you'll find them in Sandy Springs (near Anderson): 864 261 8658.
We also sometimes have peaches from the Calahams for sale at The Happy Berry, or you can go directly to the source,off Crawford Rd in Belton South Carolina: 864 338 0810, email
Emerald Farm is a working dairy farm with a walk-through herb garden, Soap Factory and Gift Shop where all natural Saanen goat milksoap and body products are made, Natural Food Store and Train and Hobby Shop, bound to stimulate interests of all ages. Picnic or just rest a while in the pavilion by the pond and get closer to nature. Located on the edge of the city of Greenwood, SC: (864) 223-2247 or 1(888) 747-9246.
Perdue's Mountain Fruit Farm
Growing a wide variety of fresh fruits, Taylors/Traveler's Rest, Greenville County, SC: Office(864) 244-5809; Farm Market(864) 895-5002; Email:
May-Lan Tree Plantation originally began as a harvest your own Christmas tree farm. It now offers both fall and spring activities. Cooley Bridge Road, Pelzer, SC: (864) 243-3092
New Hope Farm A working farm near Walhalla,SC, they offer tours by appointment, shearing dates, broom making, hay rides and the like. Please call ahead: 864 718 8365
A commercial honey packaging facility operating over 400 colonies of honeybees in the Upstate. In addition, they offer a full line of beekeeping supplies, a market full of honey products, and shelves that are stacked with good, pure nature foods; organic meats and produce, milk and buttermilk from a local dairy, Amish cheeses and bulk grains. Visit to see nature's miracle, gain an interesting and pleasurable hobby, and educate the children.
Greenbrier Farms
John and Joyce Palmer raise pastured beef, goats and chickens, and age and process it locally. They focus on quality not quantity. Their raising process is designed to enhance the environment. Located at 772 Hester Store Rd, Easley SC 29640, Email or call 864 859 0125 [No Website]
1360 South Saluda Road off of Hwy 11 near Table Rock State Park near Cleveland SC 29635. Offering tours and tasting daily and enjoy wine, cheese and music on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. Call 864 878 5307 or contact
Ronald Martin Dairy
Located at 460 Dairy Farm Rd, Westminster, SC, 29693 phone 864 972 9829, Cell 864 710 1663. Grade A All Natural Raw Milk in gallons and half gallons available at the farm. Also sell at Pickens Flea Market on Wednesday mornings. No email or web site. Permit Number 1-37-09
O6 Farm Services. Doug Morrison, Gap Hill road, Six Mile SC 29682 has hay for sale. Email RDM95573@BELLSOUTH.NET, phones 864 868 4517 barn and 864 868 4516 House
Bio-Way Farm
Chris Sermons,197 Bio Way, Ware shoals, SC 29692, 864 992 6987. Email A certified organic farm using permaculture design principles. Asparagus, edible greens, forest gardens and perennial polyculture.
Big Sky Farm
Jerry Munns, 801 Princeton Hwy, Honea Path, SC 29654 864 369 0988. Email Meat and Dairy goat farm with rabbits, emus, turkeys, chickens, peafowl, and pheasants.
Western Starr Farm
Terry and Tara Wyatt, 1851 Rainey Rd, Starr SC 29684, 864 352 3211, Fresh Lamb.
Geoff Zehnder, 864 656 6644, Email 5 acres of certified organic seasonal vegetables, herbs and cut flowers. Products sold through CSA [community supported Ag]and local farm markets.
Pasture Poultry (eggs & meat), Grass Fed Beef, and Fresh Churned Raw Buttermilk. Christina & Bob Persson, 488 N Barton Rd, Taylors, SC 29687. Call (864) 895-6751 or email
The Merry Christmas Tree Farm Featuring (You Cut) Leyland Cypress, Eastern White Pine, Eastern Red Cedar, Clemson Greenspire, Carolina Blue Sapphire, and (Freshly Cut) Fraser Fir from NC mountains. Located in upstate South Carolina between Liberty and Central. Thanksgiving until December 23: 864 639 6492.
For a selection of fresh farm produce. On the corner of 137 and John Holliday Rd, Six Mile SC: 864 868 3105 fax 868 4582
Walker Century Farms
Purebred Devon cattle for sale. Grass-fed beef. Call or email, visitors always welcome. Bill & Nancy Walker. 1130 Shackleburg Road, Anderson, SC 29621. Phones: (864) 226-2668 (home), (864) 940-4593 (Nancy's cell). Email
They have pastured chevon the healthy red meat. USDA inspected and certified. They have packages of chops,steaks, roasts, ribs and tenderloin as well as stew meat and ground. They sell whole and half cabritos too. Located in Westminister SC 29693 Phones: 864 647 8993 or 710 3703

Take the time to visit one of these farmes/mearkets and stock up on your favorite seasonal produce, local dairy products and meats, knowing that you are not only making a local effort, but a global one as well.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Master Gardener Plant Sale

This is an annual event supported by Upstate Master Gardeners

The plants that will be available for sale at very reasonable prices: annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, ground coverings, ferns. Most all of the plants will have been grown by Master Gardeners themselves and there will be several Master Gardeners available to answer any questions you may have. In addition, there will be a load on vegetables (many heirlooms) and herbs which have always been among the best sellers in years past! Many of the decorative plants and vegetables are not available at our local nurseries or stores.

Gardener's Tag Sale: this event is run as part of the Plant Sale. "Gently used" gardening tools, decorative items, books, magazines, etc. at very reasonable prices. This is a fun event and there are many great "finds".

Date: Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Time: 8 - 11 AM - But come early for the best selection!

Location: University Center, on Pleasantburg Dr. The sale will be behind the building, in the vicinity of the old Belk Store.

Payment: Cash or Check only

This sale will be in rain or shine!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tomato Pie

Among much conversation during our recent Spring Planting Day, a couple of our very supportive and passionate plot owners (Diane Beidler and Dot Russell) came up with the idea to share recipes from produce derived from the garden. I have since passed Diane's Tomato Pie recipe onto Dot, but thought I would share the wealth with others. See below recipe below. If you have a recipe you would like to share, please contact me at

Tomato Pie

1 9 inch deep dish pie shell baked (I've included my favorite below)
2 to 3 large tomatoes thickly sliced
2 to 3 green onions chopped (or about 1/4 C sweet onion chopped fine)
chives (optional)
1 C mayonnaise
1 C sharp cheese, grated
3 slices bacon, fried crisp
Parmesan cheese

Fill cooled pie shell with alternating layers of tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and chives. Combine mayonnaise and cheese and spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle top with crushed bacon and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 min.

Pie Crust:

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cold butter (do not substitute margarine)

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake 375 until lightly browned, about 7-10 min.

Recipe Adapted from:
"Gracious Goodness Charleston"
"Taste of Home" (Crust)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Planting Day, March 20th

It could not have been a more beautiful day for out 2010 Spring Planting Day! About 35 people showed up to work in their plots, lend support and enjoy the time with others. Suzy Seagrave was our Master Gardner on had for the day and she was a ton of help, physically and educationally. Our next Sprouting Saturday is scheduled for Saturday, April 10th from 9-11am.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A New Gardening Season....

It is time again for the St. Francis Community Garden to be revived. We took a much needed hiatus for several months to revel in the holidays and bear the chilly weather, letting the soil lie dormant and recover for this season. While our first planting day was set for this Saturday, we have since decided to postpone it for March 20th, our originally scheduled rain date. With the several inches of rain we have received and are continuing to receive, it will be much more pleasant to garden when the weather is more cooperative, and appropriately, the first day of Spring!

In addition, we have several new developments in our garden. We have officially set the gardening season from March through November and will host "Sprouting Saturdays" to collectively work in the garden a couple of times each month. We have 3 new benches built by Eagle Scout troop 747 to rest our working legs, and the large cargo POD has been replaced with a smaller and much more accessible storage shed. Finally, we have graded a large area for accessible parking around the garden. Cars may now enter from Andrews Street. Ta da!

Although several gardeners were not able to commit for another year, we have many new members joining our family! It will be exciting to see old and new faces this gardening season. A garden information piece was also developed by our talented marketing department (See below).

We are looking forward to dusting off the skills we have learned and embarking on new this second gardening season. Please look for more information on garden talks we are planning this year!

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

Friday, February 5, 2010

Find us on Flickr!

After you've read the 2009 Annual Report, check out our photo slideshow of St. Francis in the community. There's lots of great garden photos to enjoy! View photos >>

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

St. Francis Annual Report to the Community

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System exists for one reason – to be “good help to those in need.” That help doesn’t just include the patients in our facilities. In fact, St. Francis has a Community Ministries department that focuses solely on bringing our mission to life in our community through advocacy, outreach, providing access to health care, and more.

Discover the countless ways we put our mission in action, including the St. Francis Community Garden, by viewing our latest Community Benefit Annual Report.

Making It Grow!

The episode of the South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) gardening show "Making It Grow" featuring the St. Francis Community Garden is now online. Thanks to the show for coming to the campus of ST. FRANCIS downtown to see the progress of our garden. Enjoy! Watch the episode now >>