My Family Garden Flavors

 

Carl picking blackberries from the vine.

Carl Lombardo has been graciously sharing his blackberries with his Heartland family for the past few weeks. The delicious berries come from his family garden. Carl explained, “There’s nothing better than a flavorful fruit or vegetable picked fresh from your own garden.”

After Carl and his wife, Carla, moved to Enon in 2007, they decided to start a family garden in 2008. The garden began with a very special cutting from his father’s fig tree. Carl’s father, Ardo Lombardo, emigrated from central Italy to McKeesport, PA when Ardo was 16-years-old. In Italy, fig trees along with fruits, vegetables and herbs in the family garden was a way of life and Ardo brought that tradition to McKeesport.

Carl recalls, “I remember my brothers and sister and I would weed the garden as children. At the time, we hated the chore but as I grew up, I remembered the incredible flavors from our family garden and buying store-bought produce just couldn’t replicate my family garden flavors.”

The fig tree cutting from his father’s garden planted in 2008 has matured and Carl and Carla have developed their family garden by adding two types of tomatoes—Oxhearts and Jersey Devils. They grow Italian green beans, bell peppers, pickling cucumbers, garlic, onions, parsley, basil, two or three varieties of hot peppers, and of course blackberries.

When Carl served in the US Air Force, he was stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy. The house they rented came with a garden and much to Carl’s delight; his family grew to love fresh blackberries and figs. So when he retired and settled in Enon, his family garden had to include blackberries and figs.

Carl hopes that by sharing fresh produce from his family garden with his Heartland co-workers, everyone will enjoy the flavors and feel like they’re a part of the Heartland family.

Carl’s figs will be ready to eat in September.

Carl’s figs will be ready to eat in September.

Carl’s 2014 tomato—the largest he has ever grown.

Carl’s 2014 tomato—the largest he has ever grown.