Hope's Gardens Lore
Hope’s Gardens was founded in 2007 as a way for co-founders Leslie and Dave Lennox to share what they were doing at home. After finding the home of their dreams in 1999, they set out to renovate the house and the 1,200 square foot Lord and Burnham greenhouse on the property. Leslie had always been interested in food, from her days as a child, watching her mother create meals for the family, to college where she would attempt to prepare meals for she and her roommate, and then after her move to NY to begin her career in fashion where she would cook for her sister and best friend. In her spare time she could be found wandering the markets, trying out new restaurants, visiting her parents and eating her favorite home-cooked meals. Dave was discovering a love of gardening. He started experimenting with every kind of seed he could find. Starting seed germination in the greenhouse and then transplanting to the garden in back. Lucky for the family he was quite good at his new hobby and every day something was ready to be harvested. One season it was basil, which was growing plentifully. Dave brought his haul back into the kitchen and Leslie started to make pesto, which was quite good. Every batch she would make a few adjustments until it was perfect. As the basil continued to grow, they shared the surplus pesto with family and friends. That was when people started saying “You should find a way to sell it”. As luck would have it, the Peachtree Road Farmers Market was founded at this exact time by Linton Hopkins, a food leader and legend in Atlanta, along with others. Someone had invited Leslie to sell her hand made greeting cards at the first market, where there were less than 10 vendors. The time was ripe for innovation and Leslie thought they should bring their produce to the market. Lettuce, herbs, tomatoes all sold fast. Why not try selling the pesto Leslie thought. With a small batch of maybe 20 jars, they brought them to the market along with some pita chips for sampling. All jars were sold. Next week double the batch and they sold out. They knew they were on to something. Taking a few weeks off from the market, they got all the proper licenses, found a certified kitchen to make their pesto, teamed up with a wonderful friend who was also a talented graphic designer to create labels. With all their ducks in a row, they returned to the farmers market and a short time later, a buyer from Whole Foods came by and thought this was the best tasting pesto she had ever sampled.