Meet our Orchard Gardens Volunteers

Amy here this week on behalf of Orchard Gardens. I would like to introduce you to some of our volunteers. We depend on these awesome individuals to help us weed, harvest, wash veggies, weed whack, and to perform countless other random farm tasks. They keep conversations lively, our everyday dynamic, and our spirits up. We truly could not do what we do without them! So please read on about two of our frequent volunteers and we will have a second edition coming to you later in the season.


  • Age: 18

  • About: Originally from the Northwest Territories, she is now a sophomore at the University of Montana studying Biochemistry. This summer she is participating in a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship studying the medicinal properties of a plant endemic to India and its effects on the central nervous system.
  • Favorite Vegetable: Kohlrabi
  • Staple Food: Seasonal veggie stir-fry, often influenced by Chinese flavors
  • Fun Fact: She designed an outfit for the Off the Rack fashion show.
  • Favorite thing about Orchard Gardens: The social atmosphere and learning about all of the plants. Michelle may even be inspired to take a botany class!


  • Age: 52

  • About: A southern California native, Mary is a physical therapist at the University of Montana, in the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science.
  • Favorite Vegetable: Currently, eggplant
  • Most used cookbook: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
  • Staple Food: Seasonal breakfast creations which currently include chard, onions, summer squash and two fried eggs to top it off
  • Fun Fact: Last summer Mary had to teach her 9 year-old dog, Jocko (a pit bull hound mix) how to swim using a doggie life jacket and significant amount of determination.
  • Favorite thing about Orchard Gardens: “The people who work here. . .The beauty of the veggies. . . Oh, and the singing golden finches.”

Recipe of the week: Grilled Summer Vegetables

  • Cut a desired amount of zucchini, yellow summer squash, and eggplant lengthwise. Cut onions crosswise into thick round slices.
  • Brush vegetables with olive oil, or even better herb or basil infused olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let absorb flavors for at least 30 minutes.
  • Grill over medium heat until they are tender-crisp and lightly brown. Enjoy!