Summer is in full swing and the bounty of the land is so evident in Napa Valley. It turns out that a team at Imperial Way has their own agricultural project underway – a vegetable garden being hosted in Napa by Patty Saunders and John Shea. Patty and John have been the generous donors of three large garden beds on their property for the past four years.
Imperial Way Housekeeping Crew members Katie, Julie, Ashley and Dahlia take time out of their busy work schedule each week to visit the garden to water, weed, and best of all…harvest! The season starts with zucchini coming in early, then tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of peppers such as jalapenos, serranos and mini bells following later in the summer. The crew members pick the ripe vegetables and take them back to Imperial Way for a mini feast for themselves and other clients on site. Recipes have included sautéed zucchini, zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, and stuffed zucchini with meat and cheese. Seems we have a theme going here!
Dahlia, never a veggie fan before, is now a convert after she tried the zucchini with garlic and butter that she helped grow herself. This program is a win for Imperial Way clients because many live in supportive living environments where they may not have access to vegetables from their own gardens. The farm to table project is a great way to incorporate healthy living into the program for clients.
Rachel Heatherly, who leads the garden project says, “The Imperial Way work program provides great support and a safe environment for clients who want to work. The garden program is really what it is all about – enabling clients to grow their own food that they can enjoy with friends and co-workers.”
The crew is in great demand and has work each weekday at customer sites like Napa Red Cross, the Covello Construction office at the Napa Sanitation District, Disability Legal Services in Napa, and American Canyon Public Works. And, the crew has just been hired by the St Helena Red Cross to provide housekeeping services every other week. Between these jobs and the tomato harvest, Katie, Julie, Ashley and Dahlia have some busy days ahead!
JuLee Messerich is a volunteer writer for NVSS.