Tell us a little bit about yourself and about Ambergardens

I am a Kitsap County Master Gardener and Master Composter.  I’m kind of an eclectic person but have three overriding passions – music, growing things, cooking and eating what I cook.  I’m not sure if the cooking/eating came before the growing things or not but they are pretty inseparable for me now.  My farms motto is “growing food for body and soul.”  The plants and crops I grow tend to be edible or useful in other ways; mainly berries and vegetables, herbs and perennials such as Lavender and  plants that attract beneficial insects or have other uses.  Everything my farm grows uses organic potting soils, fertilizers, and organic pest controls, but the farm is not certified organic at this point.

What made you start Ambergardens?

Ambergardens was a planned venture, sort of.  I had been working in the Insurance Industry for about 20 years, and enjoyed my work, but was really ready for a change and to work for myself.  During this time, I found my gardening hobby sort of got out of control. I can’t tell you how many hours and days I’ve spent learning about plants, by reading, talking to people, growing things (lots of educational failures here).

What products do you sell and where can we find them?

I sell plants, produce, cut lavender bundles, and herb based natural body care products that I make at my farm using my own recipes.  My farm is pretty well known for the heirloom tomato plants (40+ varieties) I grow, along with Lavender plants and flowers and products made from Lavender.  I sell at the Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Port Orchard Farmers Markets and off my farm in South Kitsap by appointment.  Body care products can be mail ordered – I ship anywhere in the US.  I also often make local deliveries when I am out and about.  Since I don’t have a “store” I try real hard to get my products to my customers so it is convenient for them.  My plants and products are listed on my website.

What were some of the reasons you decided to join the co-op?

Well, several reasons.  I thought it might be a good place for me to market some of my own farm products.  I am a strong supporter of the buy local – localvore idea and co-ops also support that concept.  Other co-ops I have visited and shopped at I have found very interesting, unique shops with things you don’t usually see in standard grocery stores.  Co-ops are another way to bring people closer to local seasonal foods and locally processed goods, even outside of farmers market season.  The more local sales outlets farmers have for their crops, the better for them and the community they live in.  The more places people have to buy local farm products, the more they’ll do it and the more farmers can grow.  It’s a very circular chicken and egg thing.  Anyway, co-ops can be good incubators.

Thank you Laura for your time and for you support of the co-op. If you would like more information about Ambergardens or how to purchase products please visit Laura’s website at www.ambergardensfarm.com

Laura Pittman-Hewitt – Ambergardens

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