The Alton L. Collins Retreat Center has harvested its organic garden for so many years that it has become an integral part of our work. While many hands have been busy in the garden through the years, Master Gardner Glen Andresen has been the retreat center gardener for over 20 years. The result is an organic garden with nutrient rich soil that shares its treasure with us by providing food for our table.
Through our garden we emphasize the importance of sustainability in relation to the land and to food resources. Produce from our garden is harvested in season and is prepared thoughtfully by our chefs for our guests. Our on-site composting program helps to sustain the circle as we continue to nurture the soil that supplies our table. Organic gardening protects the sensitive ecosystems around us including the stream that runs through the property, the wildlife, birds and insects who visit our garden, and the water we drink. We consider ourselves stewards of this place on earth and strive to become more aware of the way in which we cooperate with the earth that sustains us.
Reflection and Relaxation
Guests are encouraged to walk the trail to the garden, experience its restfulness in winter, smell the freshly turned earth in the spring, and taste its bounty in summer and through the fall. We grow blueberries, salad greens, tomatoes, squash, herbs, peppers, eggplant, parsnips, fennel, apples, peaches, pears, and blackberries.
Glen Andresen is well known around the area for his knowledge of and fondness for honey bees. We are fortunate that Glen shares his work with us as we are host to some of the most organized and intriguing creatures on earth. The Center’s gardens are home to thousands of honey bees in several hives that produce honey for our table and for our guests to purchase to take home.