Sue Cramer’s Bountiful Garden Is a Labor of Love

In southwest Woodbury, near the intersection of Woodlane Drive and Military Road, there’s a garden like no other, delivering a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. It was started by one very hardworking woman, Sue Cramer, after some previous bad experiences with deer.

“Deer were eating everything,” Cramer says. “I had gardened for a while and I just got frustrated, because I’d work so hard and then I wouldn’t get anything out of it. So I just quit.”

Then children came. Sue and her husband, Bruce, adopted twin boys from Russia, and she became too busy for anything—especially gardening. But that never stopped her from thinking about it. “I really missed it and I talked about it; Bruce was encouraging me to do it again,” she says.

So after joking with her husband about needing a 9-foot fence before she would start gardening again (because a deer jumped their neighbor’s 8-foot fence), she looked out her window to see her husband building it. “So then, I couldn’t not do it,” Cramer says with a laugh. “I was kind of stuck, so that’s kind of how it started.”
After deciding to be a full-time mom, Cramer was looking for other activities. The garden, which is now in its 11th year, grew into an opportunity to do CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). “It was something that I could call my own, and I could do it with my kids,” Cramer says. “They could hang out with me outside.” The CSA allows people to purchase a box (full or half) of vegetables, fruits and herbs.

But with all of that work in a huge garden, there must a lot of people working on it, right? Wrong. Cramer does everything herself. “I’m a one-woman show,” she says. “I haul the dirt one wheelbarrow at a time. I haul the wood chips. I plant and tend and harvest.” She adds that Bruce does help with some of the heavy lifting, including making hay and wood chips.

Cramer does this for herself, without any personal gain in mind. “I kind of think of it as my therapy. It’s like a hobby that helps fund itself in a way,” Cramer says. “I’m not getting rich doing this. I don’t even keep track of my labor. Because if I did, I’d probably cry when it comes down to how much I’m actually making. So it’s not about money. It’s just so enjoyable. I lose time when I’m out there.”  

Sharing the Veg

Cramer Gardens provides a variety of delicious options from June through September. There are approximately 12 weekly  CSA boxes; each box features the veggies currently ready for harvest.

A full box offers eight to 10 varieties and a half box offers four to five varieties. If the box is delivered to you, you’ll receive them on Thursday mornings between 8 and 9:30 a.m. You can also pick them up on Wednesday afternoons between 4 and 5:30 p.m.

Here’s a sampling of what your CSA box might include.

Vegetables Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green onions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, peapods, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatillos, tomatoes and zucchini.

Herbs Basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and tarragon.

Fruit Apples, cantaloupe, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon.

A full box for the season is $400 and a half box is $225; a $50 deposit is due at signup.

For more information, contact Sue Cramer at 612.363.4774 or