While others were shoveling snow this week, two local farmers were starting their seedlings of onions, spinach, leeks and broccoli to get a jump on spring and be ready to offer up home-grown vegetables when the weather breaks.

While others were shoveling snow this week, two local farmers were starting their seedlings of onions, spinach, leeks and broccoli to get a jump on spring and be ready to offer up home-grown vegetables when the weather breaks.

Dave Purpura of Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm has already potted his onions and spinach plants, while James Reynolds of The Dahlia Farm is germinating his broccoli this week.

These two local farmers aren’t just planting a garden, they are offering shares in their harvest for people who buy in now.

For those who don’t plant, a share in the garden might be just the ticket to chase the winter blues away. Dreaming of fat juicy tomatoes, crisp sweet corn and crunchy lettuce picked hours before it’s eaten is one way to cure cabin fever.

Soon the bok choy, arugula and peas will be ready for harvest and those who bought a 20-week share can expect to soon start munching on the spring greens.

Both Reynolds and Purpura say their favorite crop is the tomato and they are planning a bumper crop of heirloom varieties.

Reynolds bags up those candy-like cherry tomatoes, perfect for popping in your mouth. In Purpura’s garden, people will pick their own. “It’s part of the experience,” Purpura says.

Reynolds grew more than 4,000 tomatoes plants last year with one German heirloom that weighed in at 3 pounds. There’s also basil, parsley, dill and cilantro for those gourmet cooks who seek the freshest herbs, as well as rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage.

“Pretty much anything that can be grown, we grow,” said Reynolds.

Laurie and Dean Rantz tried a half-share in Reynolds farm last year and said they were very happy with the produce. “It was something to look forward to every week,” said Laurie Rantz.

Dean Rantz said Reynolds would fill baskets each week with vegetables, herbs and flowers, sometimes with things the couple had never tried. One week they were given kohlrabi, something Dean Rantz described as looking like an alien, but turned out to be tasty. “Hey, I’ll try anything,” he said.

Rantz said another bonus is supporting local business. He said with all the talk of living green, he decided to do what he can for the environment and invested in a local farmer.

The two farmers are well-known in the community.

Purpura was spotlighted in 2008 as an “American hero” during a sold-out Farm Aid concert, and Reynolds is the owner of Reynolds Flowers Inc., a family-owned business on Plymouth Street that has sold floral bouquets for decades.

Both farmers include a bunch of cut flowers in the weekly shares, calling it food for the soul.

Purpura’s shares are $675 each for the 20-week season; Reynolds’ are $500 each.

During the season, the customer picks up a bag or basket each week with whatever crops and flowers are in season, ranging from spring greens through tomatoes in summer and pumpkins, squash and hardy mums in fall. For an additional cost, fresh eggs can be added to the weekly shares.

Both farmers say the shares sell out quick, and by May there’s a waiting list.

The Enterprise

SHARING FARM CROPS

Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm
Owner: David  &  Sasha Purpura
Address: 170 Fuller St., Middleboro
Web site: platosharvest.wordpress.com
Telephone: 508-315-9429
Share price: $675/season
  
The Dahlia Farm
Owner: James Reynolds
Address: 410 Plymouth St., Middleboro
Web site: thedahliafarm.com
Telephone: 508-947-8802
Share price: $500/season