Enjoy lunch at the mission; fresh from the garden

By Lynnette Hoffman

Enjoy lunch at the mission; fresh from the garden

The garden at St. Mary's Mission provides fresh food for their daily meals.

St. Mary's Mission in Toledo is viewed by many in the area as a place that has helped many. Now it is helping Cowlitz Tribal Elders, not just in housing, but in gardening and food as well.

St. Mary's is independent living for Cowlitz Tribal Elders, but it also offers meals daily to those in the area. The general public is invited to attend lunches at the mission and the price is only $5. They have a nice dining room with table cloths and a fresh salad bar. If you are Native American, Hawaiin or Alaska Native, the meal is free. The food prepared for the salad bar comes directly from the garden at St. Mary's. The mission isn't just for residents, it's for everyone to enjoy.

St. Mary's has a garden that is unbelievable. Cindy Calahan is the gardener and has done so with zeal. When you first go out, you are taken to a beautiful herb learning garden. The residents can come to the herb garden and try their hand at gardening, along with picking whatever they may need. The herb garden is a peaceful place where you can just sit for hours and relax. Cindy stated, "Our residents who can't make it to the regular garden, can come here and pick herbs. It's a learning garden."

When you walk to the larger garden, you realize this is not just a food-providing garden, this is a garden of love. Cindy Calahan stated, "I'm addicted to gardening.

Some people buy shoes, I buy seeds." The garden has everything you can think of: lettuce, squash, zucchini, sunflowers, tomatoes, and even miniature eggplant.

In the month of July, Cindy stated, "We delivered 135 bags of produce to tribal elders and we are on track to do it again this month." Some of her vegetables are on their second harvest.

St. Mary's has so many different things to offer, you can have lunch for a reasonable cost. You can walk the grounds and the chapel can still be rented for weddings and other events. The mission has been a part of the community for many years. It's wonderful to see it will continue.

If you would like to have lunch at St. Mary's please call 360-864-7003.