“Their vision,” she says, “is to help create a healthier community by building spaces to grow food and educate families in an urban environment. We also sponsor six garden plots for Veggie Rescue’s new community garden.”
In addition to donating produce, Val is providing the organization with chicken wire, wiring posts, tomato cages and other infrastructure needs for their community gardens.
“We are trying to help them be more successful and productive, while also saving them money,” she says. “I have an abundance of gardening supplies available, and I’m happy to share with them.”
Since retiring several years ago, Russell and her late husband steadily downsized their farming operation.
“We were very successful selling our produce at roadside stands and marketing a basket of the week. We just did it on a smaller scale in recent years,” she says.
Before 2020, the couple had plans to take a long-awaited retirement trip and forego the 2020 planting season. Then COVID-19 hit, the trip was cancelled, and spring planting began as usual.
“Throughout the 2020 season, we took preorders with everybody wearing masks and a no-contact rule for the produce,” Val says. “We had just a few ofus working behind the table filling orders, but it worked.”
In 2021, Russell Veggies will sell asparagus, garlic, rhubarb and fruit, including blackberries, raspberries and apples.
“The blackberries are going to be prolific this year,” she says.
Helping Val with farming responsibilities are her son, Gary, her niece, Jennifer, her brother, CT, and their families.