Last week, my sister Meri (VP in charge of new experiences and adventures) and I started out on an innocent stroll around our Tremont neighborhood, lured by the sunshine, and the guilt of being sedentary. Close to heading home, she convinced me to take the foot-bridge that passes over I-480 near Clark Fields. I was brave. I get vertigo. It’s really unfounded, I know, but that’s the facts.
Suddenly, we came upon… Hooper’s Farm, est. 1994. And the proprietor happened to be around, with his assistant, Mr. Varga. They were very eager to share with us their little urban farm, so we got a tour and learned about just how many pounds of green beans can really be grown on two trellises. 40 lbs, a couple times a season! They are donated to a local church which provides meals 7 days a week to the community! And Garlic, glorious stinky garlic! I spied at least five large patches of garlic growing across the double lot. I was gifted with two large bulbs to take home for myself. If you want to win my heart…
Now, not only did I learn about garlic, green beans, and collard greens, but I learned some Spanish from the fascinating Manuel Varga, who is a retired Electroplating chemist with some great stories to tell! (Kids, never ever ever taste the electroplating solution because unless you have 43 years of experience it could kill you).
These guys sprout their own seeds in the greenhouse from the previous years’ crop and collect enough rain water in barrels to water the whole farm off-grid. Everything they produce is either given away or sold to fund children’s programs. And If i hadn’t walked over that bridge…. well, there really is a surprise around every corner if you just take the time to walk around and see it!
All photos by Meri Ruble 2012.