#ThrowbackThursday: June 26, 2006

With permission, The Beacon is archiving past issues of Matthews Record (also called Matthews News and Record and The Matthews Record) articles online. Throwback Thursday articles will include relevant content still facing Matthews today.  This story was originally published June 26, 2006.

Labor of Love

Garden oasis a familiar and refreshing sight in Matthews

Anyone who has driven by James Grier’s home on Sardis Road, just before Highway 51, is familiar with the precise rows and varying shades of green growing in his garden. Grier refers to the well-tended earth as a ‘hobby out of control.’ But, to say he’s being modest would be an understatement.

What drivers don’t see as they speed by, are the five or six other finely manicured fields of vegetables behind his home. Also the pond, the fig and apple trees, the grape vines, the mounds of mulch, the greenhouse - where he begins the process in early January - or just the tranquility of it all.

It started in 1992 after Grier’s retirement and three major surgeries. Something worthwhile to fill the time. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Grier.

He sells his home grown produce under a shady tree off a cart in front of his property. He uses the honor system and expects folks to share the goods.

“If the cart’s not on the road, we’re not open,” Grier said. The cart is out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“I don’t like greedy people,” the gentleman farmer said. He’s referring to those who take more than a fair share of the early pickings. “This old man is trying the best he can.”

Not much goes to waste in Grier’s hands, whether it’s the PVC pipe mounted on his truck for fishing poles, scraps for his mulch pile supplied by landscapers in the fall, or leftovers off his truck.

“We just gave 100 pounds of squash and potatoes to a local church who passed them on to the needy,” said son-in-law Andy Ollis. Both men work the land daily, with Ollis doing most of the heavier labor.

“We still enjoy it,” he mused, “and the people who come by sure appreciate it.” The include people from all around - Pineville, Waxhaw, Huntersville.

When asked how long the farmer would keep the place going, Ollis replied, “I don’t know how many times he’s been asked to sell,” he said about his father-in-law, “But eventually he will.”
And Matthews will be poorer because of it.