Retail Construction Services, Inc. is dedicated to giving back.

We give back not only to those in need within our community, but also the future generations of this wonderful community. What started out as a great idea has grown exponentially and has become an amazing reality. Here at the RCS Giving Garden, school groups, master gardeners, corporate volunteers, and our own employees work together for the common good of teaching children the art of gardening and the importance of healthy eating. Click Here for Full Story.

Retail Construction Services, Inc.
11343 39th Street N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042

From HWY 36 - go south on Lake Elmo Ave, turn left onto 39th Street, garden is at corner of 39th and Laverne.
From HWY 5- going west from Stillwater take right onto Laverne (near Fury dealership) garden is on the right at corner of Laverne and 39th street.

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The RCS Giving Garden

The RCS Giving Garden


Stillwater ALC Students in the Garden Today!

Click on Photo to Enlarge
Back Row - L to R: Laura Buys, Paulo Segura, Tyler Maysack, Nate Eldridge, Cole Tarras, Riley Rollings, Brian Dickie.
Front Row - L to R: Jake Tobin, Tom Wendt, Connor Mulcahy.

The young adults from the Stillwater ALC were in the garden today! Our brussel sprouts were finally maturing and the students harvested 13.6 lbs and were able to see how they look when ready to harvest. The daily total was 92.2 pounds; not only brussel sprouts but cabbage, cant elope, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, onion, tomatoes and fall raspberries!

Our garden is rich every time these students join us. Not only do we enjoy the laughter, but enjoy every time we are able to teach something new.

One of the things the students learned was about the brown rough lines on jalapeno and other hot peppers. These rough brown lines are called “corking”. This is a number of very fine horizontal lines on the peppers that indicate readiness to pick. The more lines, the hotter the pepper!

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things
which he can afford to let alone."
from the chapter "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" in Walden


RCS Giving Garden Reaches it's 2010 Goal!

Joanne Honsvall-Berg, United Way of Washington County-East

Today we passed our 2010 RCS Giving Garden goal of 2,000 lbs! We harvested 113.6 pounds of produce, bringing our annual total to 2,048.5 and counting.

Joanne Honsvall-Berg from United Way of Washington County-East delivered the fruit and vegetables to Courage St. Croix this afternoon.

While reaching our goal is an exciting milestone, the more important measurement is this; As Joanne from United Way shared with us; when she delivered produce to one of the sites, a woman offered to help her carry in the onions and tomatoes. She held them up to her nose, inhaled deeply and said:

“I’m going to eat really good tonight”.

That is what this is all about,
And the most important measurement of all...

Recipients from the Giving Garden this year have been; Valley Outreach (our primary drop site) and United Way’s additional recipients; East Suburban Resources, Cimarron after school program in Lake Elmo, and Courage St. Croix.

Thank you first and foremost to our Retail Construction staff of employees who have volunteered their time, talents and ideas to the garden project. Thank you to our educational partners; Stillwater ALC, Stillwater School Districts SPIN program , and Lake Elmo Elementary Adventure Club. Thank you also to our corporate volunteers; UPS and Andersen Corporation. A big thank you goes to those that donated seeds, compost, plants, etc. There are so many to list, but a big thank you to some of our major donors; Bergmann's Greenhouse & Garden, Krueger's Christmas Tree Farm, Future Farm Food and Fuel and The Master Gardener's program. Your donations of time, money and items for the garden have been instrumental in helping us provide for so many with so little.


Record Breaking Day in the Garden!

Back, L to R: Denise Lemon, Dawn Rossi, Keith Miller & Don Thron
Front, kneeling: Joy Grognet

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

We had a small group from Andersen Corp. volunteer today, and what an amazing change they made in the Giving Garden. Not only did this group of four pick the 2nd largest poundage for a single day, they took the produce to Valley Outreach, stocked the shelves, performed other work there, and then returned to the garden for ‘more’.

Joy from our office worked along side to familiarize them with our garden and its rhythms. I heard there was much laughter amongst the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

This mornings harvest yielded 161.4 pounds of produce; bringing us to an YTD total of 1,825.3 pounds! Denise, Don, Keith and Dawn were responsible for breaking last years’ record by 18.5 pounds! But…, they didn't stop there. When they found out that there were two other larger harvest days (173.4 and 214.1), they harvested the potatoes, some parsley, and with the addition of one monstrous zucchini, brought the daily total to 176.6 lbs. Our new annual total sits at 1,840.5 pounds; 33.7 lbs more than 2009. This was one motivated group!

As for our potato crop, well, three barrels this year only produced a total of 7.9 pounds of potatoes. The photo shows the tiniest of these gems… quarter size to be exact!

After the afternoon harvest, the group successfully freed our poor strawberry plants from the grips of every type of weed imaginable. With keeping with a 100% organic garden, our first priority has been keeping the weeds at bay in vegetable rows. The poor strawberries? Well, they had disappeared until this afternoon.

We are very, very fortunate to have met these new friends from the Valley. We extend a sincere thanks to the four of you. Not only for all of your hard work, but for bringing your spirit of giving to this giving garden.


Big Harvest Today!

Today we harvested 214.1 lbs of produce to donate to Valley Outreach! We had tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, squash, broccoli, raspberries, beans, carrots, onion, hot peppers, and white eggplant!

The white eggplant was the most prevalent crop today. Native to India with small, white, smooth-skinned is one of many domesticated eggplants. Has an Italian-style shape and creamy texture.

Our Brussels sprouts are really starting to show, and we hope to have some by next week!


Jake in the Garden!

Jake Tobin from the Stillwater ALC High School joined us in the garden this morning. He was here bright and early at 8am, ready to harvest that which was hiding from the cold and the wind. He has been in the garden from the first day we planted seeds in this soil and has had the opportunity to watch the garden flourish from a brown landscape to a green canvas, dotted with little bits of color and flavor everywhere.

Jake is full of life in the garden, has an infectious smile and genuine enthusiasm for this project. He is a joy to have an open dialogue with about heirloom plants, seeds and ‘where our food comes from’. I have a poem that someone shared with me that aligned perfectly with the passionate spirit that Jake brings to the garden.

"I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit."
-Dawna Markova

We picked 128.2 pounds of white eggplant, onions, lettuce, green peppers, hot peppers, squash, tomatoes and cucumber this morning. Jake asked if he could stop in anytime and help out in the garden, even after he graduates. The answer? ‘Yes’, a hundred times ‘yes’.

Thank you Jake for sharing your zest for life in this garden. These recipes are for you;