It’s no great secret that I consider Ann Molloy a dear friend. We met at one of many long series of City Council meetings here in Gloucester. It wasn’t one of the most ideal scenarios to sow a friendship, but it worked and has grown into a rich friendship that I didn’t even know my life lacked.
Ann’s family, as many know, own and operate Ocean Crest Seafood and Neptune’s Harvest. Back in the Winter of 2012 another friend of mine, Rona Tyndall, had a wonderful idea to start a Community Garden down the Fort. Ocean Crest owns a piece of property across the street from their company, part gravel parking lot, the rest a small field with an apple tree on it. It was a no brainer to approach them in hopes that they would let us dig it up and turn it into not only a vegetable patch for the fort community to share in, but a place that drew folks together. Not only did Ocean Crest say yes to us using the land for the garden, but Neptune’s Harvest even donated the fertilizer, and has continues to do so each year. They overwhelmingly said yes, because that’s the kind of people they are – kind.
While Winter slowly turned to Spring, plans were made in rough drafts on pieces of paper, dreams of fresh vegetables feeding our imagination as to what it could be. A lot of work, but fun work. In comes another bonus, my cousin, Debbie Adkins, has this contact with some University of Maryland students who, rather than go off to some sunny resort or home for Spring Break, they have “Alternative Break,” where they seek a destination and help people. Debbie asks, “How would you like them to come here and help start the garden?” Another no brainer. How lucky are we? We get these young kids, eager to help and not afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s been so much fun having them over the past three years. They work like there’s no tomorrow, and then we have a lunch break.
Somehow everything tastes more delicious after a morning together in the garden. With a well deserved lunch in our bellies, it’s not back to work for the students, but out on tour. A little make shift Gloucester history tour, an educational walk through Ocean Crest and Neptune’s Harvest, perhaps a dory ride… what ever it may be, the kids love coming here and reach out to us year after year to see if we have a need for them in the garden.
I’ve moved from the Fort and find spare time scarce for heading over to the garden to see how it’s going. Funny how life can take us in so many different directions in so little time. I hope the garden will continue to be a place for folks to gather together. What has flourished, in addition to the garden, is my friendship with Ann. It’s been extremely apparent to me, that when she became my friend, I got the entire family along with her and I’m not talking about just her siblings, but their kids, the kids of those kids, cousins, nieces, nephews, their kids, her mom, her son… I feel like I’ve been adopted into an empire of love.
Now I’d like to give back, return some of that goodness that they’re always pouring out on me. How the heck do I do that? By asking you. You see, Neptune’s Harvest is up for another great “Green” award. I say another, as last year they received an award for “Outstanding Innovation & Leadership in Achieving Sustainable Practices in the Gulf of Maine,” by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Pretty cool if you ask me. This time they are up for an award from “Green America.” This award is for their commitment to advancing organic agriculture, but there’s a catch, there are ten finalists and they need your vote. All the finalists must excel in an overall commitment to both social and environmental responsibility. I’d say they’ve nailed that. So please, go to the link provided here and cast your vote for Neptune’s Harvest. If you’re a gardener and haven’t tried their products, please do, your garden will love you for it.
To vote for Neptune’s Harvest, click the following link:
Laurel Tarantino, is happy to live in her hometown, Gloucester, with her husband, James, “Jimmy T,” daughter Marina Bella, and the family dog, Sport. She is known for “stopping to smell the roses” and loves to photograph and write about her beloved waterfront community.