I never knew there were so many varieties of eggplant until I visited the Community Solar Greenhouse (COMSOG) in Oak Bluffs.
Manager Chris Legge, the sole paid employee (the rest of the show is run by volunteers), showed me around on Friday morning. It’s a pick-your-own operation, and what’s available currently are several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers (ever heard of a lemon cucumber?) and eggplant; kale; Malabar spinach, a variety that thrives in heat; collard greens; herbs; and more. I even got a taste of a stevia leaf – which tastes just like sugar.
The produce was so plentiful and Mr. Legge so accommodating that I signed up for a membership on the spot. The yearly fee is $30 for a single, $35 for a couple.
You don’t have to be a member to buy from the greenhouse, but members benefit with a discount. Tomatoes are regularly $3 per pound, and $2/lb. for members, $1/lb. with two hours of volunteering per week, and free if you volunteer for four hours per week. In fact, everything is free if you volunteer for four hours per week. Heads of lettuce go for $2 per head for non-members, $1 for members, and $.50 for two hours of volunteer work.
This year, Mr. Legge, a landscape designer by trade, is growing a range of flowers from globe amaranth to zinnias, and makes bouquets to sell at the Oak Bluffs Open Market on Sundays, and plans to work on wreaths in the future. They are also growing a variety of squash and gourds, including pumpkins, for the greenhouse’s annual Fall Festival in October.
As for pest control, COMSOG uses Neem primarily, a vegetable oil. “We’re as low as you can get,” Mr. Legge said in regards to pesticide use.
COMSOG was founded in 1983. It is located at 114 New York Avenue in Oak Bluffs. For more information, stop by, call 508-693-2019, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.