Five years ago, Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO, Irma Toce, approached new resident, Chuck Andrews, and asked if he would plant a community garden. To her delight, and the delight of his fellow residents, he said “yes.”
It didn’t take long for the garden to be known as “Mr. Chuck’s Garden,” and over the years it has become a fixture on the Londonderry campus. Each summer, the entire community looks forward to the ripening tomatoes and maturing herbs, knowing that they will soon be enjoying them in dishes prepared by Londonderry’s Head Chef and Director of Dining Services, Chelsea Coombs.
“We all love Mr. Chuck’s Garden,” said Coombs. “This year has been a great season for basil, so we’ve had a lot of pesto dishes and marinara sauce. We also love the cherry tomatoes on our garden salads and tomato slices on sandwiches and hamburgers. We’ve also used other herbs to flavor and garnish roast chicken and other dishes. We use it all!”
Residents have also been known to snack on a few tomatoes as they walk by and trim bits of basil and other herbs for their own home cooking.
The garden is carefully planted and tended by Andrews, a Master Gardener, who can be found weeding almost daily. Once the summer crops have finished for the season, Andrews plants pansies and decorative cabbages for the fall, and there are daffodils in the Spring.
In addition to supplying the kitchen and residents with excellent produce, Andrews also supplies many laughs at resident meetings where his humorous garden reports liven up the agenda.
Andrews has always been a gardener, having created and maintained his own landscaping at his California home when he wasn’t busy at his day job as a high school English teacher and later, school counselor, in the Los Angeles area.
After retiring from his 36-year career as an educator, Andrews trained to become a Master Gardener in California and brought that knowledge with him to Londonderry when he and his wife, Susan, relocated to Easton in 2016 to be closer to their son and his young family.
“I didn’t waste any time asking Chuck to head-up a garden project, and I am so glad I did,” said Londonderry on the Tred Avon CEO Irma Toce. “The garden has thrived under Chuck’s care and become a beloved part of our campus. As the constant teacher, Chuck has taught us many gardening lessons while we share belly laughs and a delicious tomato.”