MILFORD — Harvest with a Heart’s annual vegetable plant sale will run 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 12, and 9 a.m. to noon, May 13, in back of the Harvest market building at the corner of SR 15 and Emeline Street in Milford. Like the plants themselves, this event continues to grow, as Wawasee High School and Milford Elementary School students, along with their teachers and volunteers work to provide fresh, healthy produce for the community.
Organizers Sharon Fouts and Lisa Weisser will once again be on hand, selling a wide assortment of herbs and vegetables, all ready to be planted. “They will be ready to go in the ground,” affirmed Wawasee High School horticulture teacher, Joan Harden. “They just exploded in the last week.”
This year’s plants were grown by Wawasee’s FFA horticulture judging team, which won first place at the national contest last fall. They include tomatoes: a slicing variety, Roma and cherry; eggplant, green peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, cilantro, basil and jalapeno peppers.
Two flats of plants were planted by third- and fourth-graders at Milford Elementary, who participated in two plant workshops in which they learned the parts of a plant and what keeps them healthy. According to Harden, the Milford students all planted a seed for Harvest with a Heart and another in a Dixie cup to take home and care for themselves.
“It helps the community as a whole to have fresh produce,” said Wawasee sophomore Kayla Estrada, a member of the FFA team. She added it is also good for her own generation to “get them outside and in the dirt.”
Estrada helped with last year’s sale, as well, and believes they were better able to plan this year’s crop. For example, they visited another greenhouse to get pointers before planting. “For watering you need to make sure it seeps down,” Estrada noted. Also, the plants were more effectively propagated, she said, so the plants’ roots were not competing for space. The extra special care proved especially beneficial for the herbs, basil and cilantro, said Estrada. “You break off a leaf and it smells so good.”
“They’re learning something every year,” said Harden. “It gave us ideas for next year,” Estrada added.
This year, Harvest with a Heart is also starting the “Grow a Row” campaign for the produce market. Local gardeners are encouraged to set aside one row of their gardens to help provide fresh, unprocessed vegetables. Growers can let the market know what vegetable they will be providing by calling (574) 658-4156 or stopping by during pantry hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m., at 201 S. Higbee St. — the corner of SR 15 and Emeline Street — in Milford.
Anyone can shop or donate to the Harvest with a Heart Market, which will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. from mid-July to mid-October. Proceeds go to Milford Public Library, Milford United Methodist Preschool, Milford Fire Department, Makenna VanLaeken Foundation, Milford School Garden Club, FFA Scholarship, Harvest with a Heart and Milford Food Pantry.