Home & Garden Club

The Deercreek Home and Garden Club-
 Enhancing Home and Community


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    Congaree and Penn Farm and Mills

    Tuesday, September 25 at 10 am

    By Patty Tomka 

    Rice paddies in Jacksonville??? Yep. 30 minutes from downtown Jacksonville you will find four acres of rice paddies on Old Kings Road - along with orchards of new Mayhaw trees, fields of Muscadine grape vines, honeybees busy pollinating everything and ‘Fancy Chickens’ strutting!

    Scott Meyer is coming to our Home and Garden Club meeting to tell us about this new addition to the Farm to Table movement, how they got started, why they chose that name, and how he went from planning to be a ‘fish farmer’ to running a very successful Destination Farm. He was going to use the water from the fish to fertilize the rice plants and turn that into the Japanese drink, Sake. He planted the rice first before buying the fish, but the local restaurants bought up all the rice as soon as it was harvested and wanted more! Sake would have to wait! And so they expanded the farm and planted olive trees, blackberry bushes and grapes, with the thought of building a ‘Cidery’ to juice seasonal fruits into Ciders and Shrubs.

    “But Meyer is already looking far ahead, positioning the farm to be a crucial link in Jacksonville’s growing local food and drink scene, where Congaree and Penn can be marketed to an increasingly sophisticated audience.

    Congaree and Penn has already had some attention: In September it was featured in Food & Wine magazine, which highlighted the rice fields at what it called a “boutique operation here on the exurban fringe of one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.” From Matt Soergel’s article 11/17/17

    They have 210 acres along Old Kings Rd to work with and have lots of ideas for the future. But they are pretty busy already with opening the site to Weddings, Farm Dinners featuring famous chefs, Fish Fries, Tours and Workshops. When Scott comes to our meeting he will be bringing product from the farm that we can purchase – rice, grits, middlins, jellies and ‘shrubs’ to make cocktails. Mmmm. I can’t wait to try them all!

    Come to our meeting on September 25 and then plan to stay for lunch at the Club and get to know your neighbors. You don’t need a green thumb to be part of this group!

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    Golden Acorn Award Luncheon

    Tuesday, August 28, 11:30 am

    Have you noticed our new Deercreek Deer? In her last official act as President, Cary Flynn ordered two new bronze deer to grace the entrance to Deercreek. Since they are both bucks they had to be installed in separate areas! Be sure to look for them and be aware that once again the Deercreek Home and Garden Club has donated something to make our community distinctive. Over the 25 years we have existed, there have been many, many creative ideas to raise funds for these purchases. We sold poinsettias and luminary kits, held a craft Boutique at the Club, created a cookbook and sold trees to the neighbors. In 2005 we started doing the Fashion Shows and later added our Game Day fundraiser - all so we could give it back to Deercreek!

    The first project, in 1993, was decorating the Gatehouse for Christmas. We planted flowerbeds in front of the Clubhouse and decorated baskets for the golf course restrooms, which were so attractive that they disappeared! The flagpoles in front of the Clubhouse and the concrete benches are still in place! We sponsored the Tree Program for residents to buy trees for their property and added more than 200 trees to the neighborhood. In 1999 members and their husbands planted the viburnum hedge on the N side of the road. Dottie Patterson found our first deer family in 2000 and we planted an alcove to surround them – until they were stolen in 2009! Our gorgeous urns have provided colorful plants year-round and we installed up-lights for the magnolia trees along the entrance drive. We had the knock out roses and large holly trees planted by the Guardhouse and put in the original pavers by the mailboxes to keep your feet dry. We’re working now to get electricity out by the Southside entrance for bright holiday light displays and will continue to look for new projects to keep Deercreek beautiful. The two new deer are our latest gift and we hope you will enjoy them.

    Look for the article about our 2018 Golden Acorn Award winner elsewhere in the newsletter. Please remember to send your reservation for the Award Luncheon to Julia Watkins at juleswatkins64@gmail.com or call 314-0273 by August 24 so Chef Shawn knows how many are coming.

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    Debbie Grosnick 2018 Golden Acorn Award Winner

    Debbie and her husband Phil along with their two children moved to Deercreek Country Club in 1997. Phil's career had him traveling and away from Deercreek a major portion of the time. With their children still in school Debbie had limited excess time but with some of the time she did have, you could expect that she was promoting the club and her community.

    As they settled in, Debbie joined the nine-hole golf group and rallied a group of ladies advising them it would be a great game to learn and play; of course it included lunch and lots of comradery. Debbie became the cheerleader for golf as ladies moved in and wanted a hobby. Debbie graduated to 18-hole golf play and became a big supporter and later President of the Ladies Golf Association. She moved from Vice President of the DLGA to president quickly. It was always Debbie encouraging ladies to meet, play golf and be part of the comradery of interclub and summer team play. For Debbie it was easy to promote an idea and unite ladies. Several years later Debbie was influenced to play tennis, we think her sister Diane had a hand in that. Again, Debbie rallied the troops and was a guiding light helping to create the Ladies Tennis Association and became an active participant.

    In 1999 a group of ladies met and wanted to start a Women’s Alliance for Deercreek. The mission being philanthropic work within Deercreek and the Jacksonville community. As one of the founding members, Debbie helped to mold and create the organization as it exists today as well as serving as Vice President from 2006 - 2008. Fast forward to 2012, the DWA was having a difficult time recruiting officers for the upcoming year. The existence of the Women’s Alliance was looking pretty grim. No one wanted to step up and continue to lead the organization. When Debbie heard that the Alliance could possibly dissolve, she insisted that it had to continue and would not let anyone lose sight of its mission. Debbie volunteered to be President and recruited a group of ladies to serve as officers. Debbie convinced everyone that the DWA could not die, it had meaning and could not be set aside. Debbie has truly been the person to identify its strengths and weaknesses and run with reorganizing the Alliance to what it is today. Debbie is now in her sixth year as president and isn’t stopping yet, as a matter of fact as we speak, 2018 activities are underway and 2019 plans are not far behind, with fundraising efforts always in the forefront of her mind. Debbie felt the purpose and the strength of the DWA was giving to small and mid-size local grass roots programs of philanthropic organizations. In addition, it was her idea to develop hands on projects so more ladies could be involved. Some of these projects include the Bag Ladies, Hospice Thrift Shop, Gabriel House, Mrs. Mary’s Boutique at the Pace Center for Girls and the Ronald McDonald House, to name just a few.

    Debbie is married to Phil Grosnick, has two married children, Paige and Brian, and three adorable grandchildren. And as Debbie puts it, we are in Deercreek forever and the community is grateful for that. Congratulations Debbie on being selected as the Home and Gardens Club 2018 Golden Acorn Award Winner.

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