Veggiepalooza, an annual plant sale hosted by the Fullerton Arboretum offered 400 varieties of plants ranging from fruits, vegetables, herbs and companion flowers.
The sale took place from March 21-22.
The event was previously called the Monster Tomato and Pepper Sale for several years until they changed it to Veggiepalooza for the first time in 2014. The difference between Veggiepalooza and the Monster Tomato Sale is that now they incorporate many more vegetables other than just tomatoes and peppers.
The Master Gardeners of Orange County, an organization who aims to educate the public with modern gardening practices come out every year offering their help with plant selection and gardening questions.
This was the first year they offered free gardening and cooking lessons for attendees in hopes to encourage people to plant and cook with fresh ingredients.
Jonathan Davis was one of the first guests to teach a class on ways to prepare your soil, fend off pests and best irrigate your crop for the ultimate summer harvest. Many people seemed interested considering that it was a packed room on Saturday.
The arboretum’s nursery manager, Brian Maddock, also taught a class on building soil and preparing the most efficient compost for your garden.
When asked how he got into gardening, he explained that his childhood played a huge impact.
“It was mainly because of my interest in plants as a kid and also for food security,” Maddock said.
Maddock started growing the plants for Veggiepalooza in January and was very happy to be participating in his first event since becoming the nursery manager.
It took an army of volunteers willing to put in the time and effort to make this event happen. The volunteers at the arboretum stress how beneficial it is for the environment and your personal health to grow your own crops.
“What attracted me to this organization was the educational purposes for the kids,” said Steve Eldredge, volunteer.
Eldredge volunteered for six years in the community and believes that being able to educate the kids on the benefits of planting and sustainability will help build a better future for the next generations to come.
Fullerton Arboretum’s plant sales coordinator, Michelle Coker shared that since they don’t charge for admission their support comes from donations and fundraisers. This event can be considered a bigger event than their previous tomato sale because they have much more in variety.
“It’s been really successful… the crowd seems better this year and Saturday morning was crazy busy and has been consistent since,” Coker said.
Happy with the turnout this year, Coker expressed her hopes that customers are choosing healthier diet habits and also becoming excited to grow their own food and enjoy the “phenomenal taste” that homegrown vegetables have.
“We’ve gotten so dependent on technology that we’ve lost touch on how to sustain ourselves,” Coker said. “I’d like to consider this as our way of celebrating planting season. It’s the first weekend of spring and coming here and seeing all the different varieties available I think helps motivate people to put different plants in their garden and to try more vegetables.”