The Rise of Company Gardens

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times

Harvard Pilgrim in Massachusetts is one of many companies that have started gardens as an economical way to encourage a healthy work force.

Last fall, Greg tweeted that he’d be selling rice-paddy raised ducks at the Berkeley market if folks wanted to order ahead. I did. I picked mine up on a bright day in September or October. I have no idea which. It was frozen so I put it in the freezer thinking I’d cook it within the month.


All sorts of crazy life stuff ensued, including a move. The duck, of course, came with me to my new home and took up residence in my new freezer. Sitting there in my freezer all winter and into the spring, the duck took on a gigantic importance. It was a special duck. A Massa-raised duck. Not just any old duck. I had to DO something with it. Just roasting it would not do at all. I was waiting for an occasion.

I’ve never told anyone this other than Barry Estabrook: I grew up eating tomatoes planted in soil nourished by my own poop. My family’s zeal for organic gardening was unmatched. No, we did not have a composting toilet. Instead we used a 5 gallon white plastic bucket, filled up regularly, and carefully composted the old-fashioned way—in a steaming heap.