In his annual report on the Garden Project, Waldo County Commissioner William D. Shorey reports the garden beat its goal for 2017, producing 109,000 pounds of food against a target of 100,000 pounds.

Since the garden’s inception seven years ago, he said in the report dated Jan. 18, the garden has produced 325,000 pounds of food.

"If we look at the average price of garden produce at $1.50 per pound, the garden produced very close to $500,000 of produce since we started the project," he said.

"We were pleased this year that the sheriff purchased a four-wheel-drive pickup truck that made our deliveries much easier," Shorey said. While in past years garden workers delivered produce in pickup loads, they now deliver in pickup loads pulling a fully loaded trailer.

"We appreciate the fact that Sheriff Jeff Trafton is 100 percent behind the Garden Project and we realize that without his strong support, this project couldn’t achieve the success that it does," Shorey said.

The Garden Project shipped produce to some 33 different places this year, including food cupboards, soup kitchens, Waldo County YMCA, and other organizations. "Many days we shipped over a ton of produce a day," he said.

Shorey thanked clients from the Reentry Center "for their dedicated volunteerism to this project." It was a busy year, he reported, with 12 clients each shift from the Reentry Center working on the project.

"Last year was a tough year on rain; this year was tougher," the District 2 commissioner said. "We plant all our vegetables deep in hopes that they will find some moisture so that they will continue to grow.

"This year we farmed about 10.5 acres of ground. We added a Frontier harrower, which cut down on the amount of time that we usually have to rototill. This turned out to be a really good investment."

Shorey also thanked Cpl. Christopher Albert, "who continues to be a very, very valuable associate to help me with the garden."

Plans call for a couple of new pieces of equipment this year, and the produce goal will be 125,000 pounds.

"All the citizens of Waldo County are welcome at the garden at any time," Shorey said, "but please do not come all at once; 11 a.m. is a good time if you would like to visit or have a tour." Work days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday.