The Grove volunteers

Volunteers work at the Grove to harvest fruits like blackberries, peaches and pears. 

A new community effort is growing in Carrollton. The Grove, located behind Commissioner Ron Marchant’s office in Carrollton, is growing fruits to donate to local food pantries.

Marchant started the effort after the office building was renovated about two years ago. Unsure of what to do with the unused four acres of property, Marchant got the idea to start a community grove. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Denton County Master Gardeners partnered with him to run it.

“Master Gardeners have come and planted (fruit) with the notion that instead of a quick community garden, we’ll put something that is sustainable out there,” Marchant said.

Volunteers tend to fields and have been working to grow a variety of fruits such as blackberries, peaches, pears, grapes, pecan trees and more. Juveniles on probation have also spent time planting at the Grove as part of their community service.

Marchant said this is the second year the Grove has been in operation, but this is the first year food has been donated. Recently, several blackberries have been harvested and donated to Metrocrest’s Food Pantry.

The community is also invited to visit the grove to learn from gardeners and naturalists on what’s planted there and what it takes to care for a garden.

“Not only are we producing a scene for food, we’re also producing an opportunity for education,” Marchant said.

A tower made for Chimney Swift birds is located on the property to give the birds a place to nest.

Blackberries have been in abundance this season, but Marchant said the plan is to harvest more fruit in the future. He said he’s proud of the effort, which shows that money isn’t needed to buy everything.

“It makes me feel great. It’s fulfilling the purpose we put it there for,” Marchant said. “It’s just a lasting benefit to the community.”

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