By Kelsie Hoitomt
EMERALD – Last year around this time is when Greg Boehmer along with his wife and good friends Brian Forrest and Harlan Coyer decided to grow a variety of vegetables and place them on a wagon for people to pick up on a free-will donation basis.
Their generous operation has since been called Roadside Blessings and this year it has grown into eight full gardens with all the vegetables and fruit going to anyone who wishes to stop by the Boehmer residence.
All the proceeds continue to go to the United Methodist Church in Emerald with just over $100 raised and donated last year. The numbers have tripled this year with roughly $300 collected so far this growing season.
According to Boehmer, the season has hardly just begun and the majority of the vegetables are just beginning to ripen so they will be available closer to September.
Within a month’s time there will be an abundance of squash, sweet corn, green peppers, different melons, apples, beans, zucchinis and tomatoes to name just a few.
Pumpkins will be available in no time at the large garden on Brian’s property. He shared that the first weekend in October will mark the fourth annual pumpkin picking. This allows kids to come and pick whatever pumpkin they can roll out of the garden themselves with any donation going to the church.
In addition to the food, there has been a variety of clothes and shoes left on the wagon as well that are available for taking.
Boehmer said that his Aunt, Rosemary Maltby of Inver Grove Heights recently donated a large amount of clothing items, some with tags still attached, from stores like Nordstrom. She also made hundreds of pot holders out of old jeans to be donated and they have been flying off the wagon like hot cakes.
There are only a few pairs of shoes left, but Boehmer believes there will be more goodies coming from Rosemary in the future. “People just need to keep checking in,” said Greg.
That also applies to the food on the wagon as well. Boehmer put a strong emphasis on the fact that the weather has delayed the growing season and everyone should continue to stop by as more and more vegetables and fruits ripen.
Roadside Blessings in located on County Road D just less than a mile south of Emerald.