By Zachary Daum
Carmen McBride, a member of the O’Fallon Garden Club and an employee at Scott Air Force Base, recently hosted a delightful “Evening in the Garden” party at her home on Saturday, July 22. Carmen has cultivated a deep passion for gardening, resulting in her impressive “edible landscape garden.”
The garden party, an annual event for the O’Fallon Garden Club, saw the attendance of roughly 25 guests, primarily fellow garden club members, who were invited to Carmen’s home to enjoy the evening in her beautifully tended garden. The occasion also served as the perfect platform for Carmen to unveil her new venture, “Jam Right I Can,” an LLC that will soon offer an array of jams, jellies, bread and other food items for sale. An announcement regarding the full opening of “Jam Right I Can” is anticipated in the near future.
The attendees were treated to a scrumptious spread of homemade delicacies, including pasta salad and goat cheese, all prepared with love by Carmen herself. Amidst the greenery, guests savored the flavors and admired Carmen’s gardening prowess, evident in the abundant variety of fruits and vegetables thriving in her compact backyard, carefully nurtured using raised beds and containers.
In collaboration with her husband, Anton McBride, who works as a director of national cemeteries for Veteran Affairs, Carmen had meticulously arranged the garden to create a captivating ambiance, heightened by the addition of twinkling lights along the fence.
For Carmen, gardening is more than just a hobby; it holds a sentimental significance passed down through generations. Fondly reminiscing about her childhood, she shared, “I grew up watching my grandfather garden in his backyard garden when I was a little girl. He used to show me all of his gardening tricks that he was taught as a farmer’s child growing up in the south.”
The memories of her grandfather cultivating massive zucchini squash, tomatoes, and an assortment of vegetables beside fruit trees at his Western Pennsylvania residence have left an unforgettable impression on Carmen. “It meant everything for me to follow behind my grandfather while armed with his salt and pepper shaker, tucked in the pocket of his blue jean overalls. I knew that we were in for a treat when he pulled the tomatoes off the plants and we ate them right where we stood,” she added.
The passion instilled in Carmen during those cherished moments has blossomed into an enduring devotion to gardening. Her “edible landscape garden” reflects not only her expertise but also the love and care she pours into her green sanctuary.
As the “Evening in the Garden” unfolded, Carmen graciously shared her journey as a gardener, shaped by the wisdom and inspiration gained from her grandfather’s teachings. Moreover, she highlighted her culinary interests, cultivated during her years as a military spouse traveling throughout Europe, and her recent cooking classes in Venice, Italy.
Carmen’s “Jam Right I Can” business, which has already gained popularity with its hot pepper jelly sold out on her website, holds a promising future. As she continues to expand the range of delectable offerings, Carmen’s passion for good food and her knack for gardening are destined to leave a lasting impression on the O’Fallon community.
For more information on her foods, visit her website at www.jamrightican.com.