I'm using the last ripe summer tomato today :( This is the end of truly fresh vegies for us until late April. Since we don't have a yard situated in a manner conducive to growing our own vegies, I have become a faithful devotee of Joe's Garden which just happens to be right down the street from the high school where I work. During the school year I can grab my handy dandy shopping bag, throw it over my shoulder and take a short, pleasant walk on a path through the woods, imagining that I'm walking the hills in Tuscany. This path drops me right between the fields at Joe's which are full of luscious, healthy lettuce, carrots, chard, broccoli, potatoes, leeks, etc.
Joe Bertero grew up in Genoa, Italy, but moved to America during the First World War. In 1933 Joe and Ann Bertero bought the property which became Joe's Garden which was then and still is organic. It was a well-kept secret for locals until word-of-mouth made it famous. Joe farmed it along with a steady stream of faithful helpers well into his 80's. In 1959 teenager Carl Weston began working for Joe. Ann and Joe had no children of their own, but Carl quickly became the son they never had and Joe and Ann eventually turned the farm over to him and his wife, Carol. Now Carl is in the process of turning the farm over to his adult children who are continuing the tradition of farming the very best food in the very best way.
When Jess was little one of Joe's traditions was to pass out a free carrot to every child that came to the farm stand. That doesn't sound very exciting, but you've never had one of Joe's carrots...sweeter than candy!
Thanks, Ann and Joe, for a little touch of paradise here in B'ham!