While the garden is not used commercially, multiple chefs have owned plots there over the years and have featured their produce on restaurant menus across Dallas.
Matt Ford, executive chef at Billy Can Can, has owned a plot since 2012 and works in the demonstration garden, which is used to test new plants to see how well they grow in Dallas. Ford likes to experiment with the garden and often features his own produce at the restaurant.
Gardening can be done in all four seasons which means the community garden is always in use.
In the warmer months, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions and peppers are all grown in the garden. The fall season includes okra, field peas, sweet potatoes and squash.
With a current surplus of tomatoes, Nickerson and Williams have to be creative about not letting them go to waste. Williams likes to make tomato sauce but Nickerson takes the approach of handing them out to others.
“I have tomatoes everywhere. Yesterday I think I gave probably 10 pounds easily to my brother-in-law. I’ve given 10 pounds to my next door neighbor.” he says. “Take a Kroger sack and fill it as full as you can with tomatoes and hand it to somebody.”
A big part of what makes the gardens’ produce so successful are pollinators. The bee sanctuary and butterfly garden are a part of the community too.
Although the garden has a beekeeper, the bees are usually docile and keep to themselves.
“Our technique is to live and let live,” Williams says.
As a nonprofit, the Lake Highlands Community Garden is always looking for community support via donations and volunteerism, especially from those interested in owning a plot. For more information on how to get involved, visit lhgarden.org.