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May 30, 2013
'Grow Anywhere Tour' - It’s Always (well, usually) Sunny in Philadelphia
Burpee  Edible Gardening Team Members

The Burpee Truck rolled through Philly May 22-23, stopping at local garden stores, scenic destinations, and of course our special event at the Discovery Charter School in Philadelphia.

Our store visit brought the Burpee Truck to Primex Garden Center in Glenside, Pa., to talk to gardeners about some of the awesome Burpee Home Gardens veggies and herbs available at the 70-year-old garden center. We were happy to share gardening tips with eager shoppers. What a store! Owner David Green has every right to be proud of his family business and his fantastic team. Shoppers had big smiles and were genuinely excited to choose their favorites from a wide range of top-quality plants. Bumper Crop Grafted Tomatoes were all the rage and the store was just about sold out when we left.

Then we picked up 500 Burpee Home Garden plants from Ken and Dan Ruch at wholesaler George Didden Greenhouses in Hatfield, Pa., and spent some time catching up and hearing about their season. Didden’s grows top-shelf plants and the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and more that we loaded up were no exception. Some plants were already showing flowers, so we knew tasty fruit wasn’t far behind. Big thanks to the crew at Didden’s for helping make the Philly stop a success!

After a healthy lunch at a local restaurant, the Grow Anywhere Tour and our team of energetic gardening evangelists headed down to the huge food warehouse area to pick up 25 cases of super-fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from our new friends at Novick Brothers. A couple really neat things about Novick are that their primary customer base is childcare providers and schools. AND that their owner has demanded that all of the non-concrete areas around the warehouse be converted to gardens.

With the help of three local farms, they have rows of veggies growing, a bunch of raised beds and a vision for bringing school groups to experience it in the future. We weren’t far from our school event, so we headed in that direction even though we were a bit early…

And it’s a good thing we did! When we pulled up in front of the Discovery Charter School in Philadelphia, there was already a line of about 25 people waving us down. We assumed they were the volunteers (I’m reminded of what my mom always said about the “a” word) but we were wrong. Some were, but most were folks from the community excited to pick up some plants and produce!

So we got unloaded as quickly as possible and started bagging produce. Before we knew it there were more than 100 people lined up by the Burpee Truck excitedly taking ownership of their new plants and fresh veggies. School leadership was on-hand and they were so excited to tell the stories of how they got the community to get out and vote for the Grow Anywhere Tour to come to Discovery. They posted fliers all over the neighborhood and encouraged everyone to vote.

Burpee Home Gardens own celebrity gardener Joe Lamp’l (host of “Growing A Greener World”) was there giving out plants and tons of awesome gardening advice. I can guarantee everyone who got a tomato plant from Joe will plant them twice as deep as the pot! It’s so awesome to see kids (and adults) with their first vegetable plant and how excited they are to take it home and give growing a try!

Of course, it’s also very inspiring to meet the folks who have turned their entire city lots into gardens and we met plenty of them, too. Then out of the blue, a local guy dropped off a crate of locally grown carrots to add to the mix. How cool is that?

… AND throughout most of the event, the rain poured. I mean, poured. But that did nothing to stop the excitement and enthusiasm from hundreds of people! (The rain actually felt pretty good.)

Oh, you’re wondering if we stopped and saw any sights during this trip to Philly? Of course we did! The #BurpeeTruck visited Valley Forge Park to see Washington’s encampments, the Philadelphia Zoo, King of Prussia Mall, a beautiful conservatory and Horticulture Center, and plenty of statues and monuments. And everywhere we went, folks stopped to ask about the truck, giving us an opportunity to share gardening tips and encouragement.

Remember, all it takes to grow your own fresh vegetables and herbs is a plant, some soil, water and a lot of sun. You can pretty much Grow Anywhere!

Thank you for following our tour this season, and best wishes to all of the winning schools who have taken the steps toward living better lives through vegetable gardening! We’ll be keeping track of them, and posting updates of many of the schools as the months go by. See a recap of all of our stops at our Burpee Home Gardens YouTube channel “Grow Anywhere Tour” playlist.

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