It all started with a mission to reduce waste and use up everything in our kitchen -- to maximize what mother earth had to offer us. We learned that a lack of oxygen in landfills prevents organic materials from biodegrading, and instead releases harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to the climate crisis. It also occurred to us that emissions from food transportation was resulting in a rise in global warming. Therefore, we wanted to re-purpose the organic matter that we had been throwing out, and grow our own food so that we could reduce the amount of miles that food was traveling to get to us.
At the end of the season, we planted everything we had saved, not thinking about where we were going to plant it, but excited about the journey. Unbeknownst to us, we ended up growing enough honeydew melon (along with other fruit and vegetable seedlings) to cover more than 100x the amount of space we actually had to grow.
We started to give away as many plants as we could to friends and family, and then we offered them up to our local community. Out of an abundance of hope, I contacted Beach Plum Farm in West Cape May to see if they could take some honeydew off of our hands. To my surprise and delight, Christina, the Director of Agriculture, said YES. I was so happy and grateful that we could donate our honeydew there, because I knew that they would thrive and I could complete my lesson in agriculture. Christina was so patient and kind with my then 2 year old daughter, and showed her how to carefully transfer the seedlings to the Beach Plum garden. Elle and I visited Beach Plum Farm often, and so we were looking forward to monitoring their growth over the Summer of 2021.
All summer long I got to witness my bright eyed girl revel at the prosperity of her melon, and for this I will be forever loyal to this local farm.
At the end of the season, when the honeydew was harvested, we decided to buy our honeydew melon back. Of course we had to taste it, share it with friends, and save the seeds again. This time, I was hoping to teach Elle about heirloom, and the role that we play in maintaining the biodiversity of our planet.
In April 2022, we planted our heirloom seeds once again, and when the honeydew began to sprout, I contacted the farmer to see if we could plant them in the Beach Plum garden. I was overjoyed when Christina decided to support me in bringing my lesson to life again, and we planted our seedlings at the farm for the second time just a couple of weeks ago. A tradition has been born.
If you're interested in purchasing Elle's melons, they will be available for sale sometime in August. For the ripest and juiciest experience, remember to leave them on the counter for a couple of weeks until they smell sweet before cutting them open to eat. Don't forget to save some of the seeds for your garden, and create your own grow at home family tradition.
If you would like to monitor the progress of Elle's melons, follow us on Instagram or Facebook @gooddeedsmarket or visit them in person at Beach Plum Farm, located at 140 Stevens St, West Cape May, NJ. If you're lucky, maybe you'll be able to get to enjoy them on the side of one of Beach Plum Farm's delicious farm to tables meals.
I hope that this story inspires you to grow food with your family and reduce waste in your kitchen. I don't know where this lesson will go next, but I'm excited to see where it takes us and will certainly keep you posted.