Too many vegetables?

gardener_sandyJuly 31, 2014

For those of you who planted too many cucumbers or tomatoes or whatever vegetables and have canned/frozen/eaten them until you are tired of them, remember the food banks in your area.

We had so many cucumbers this year that friends and neighbors had started running the other way when they saw me coming with a bag. I had made pickles until my kitchen was a sticky mess and every flat surface was covered with canning supplies and cukes. Then I remembered the food bank just down the road from me and "bingo!" had the solution. They were extremely grateful to get them and now I don't have to put perfectly good vegetables on the compost pile any more.

Check with your local churches or the Cooperative Extension office in your county for possible places to donate your excess. You will feel good about it and those folks a bit down on their luck will eat better as well.

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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks for that reminder, Sandy! When my hens were laying, I would take fresh eggs to a local food bank, and they would love it.
Great idea about the excess!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:55AM
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There's a program called Plant a Row for the Hungry, asking gardeners to plan for some excess explicitly for donation.

But be sure to call in advance and ask if a given pantry takes fresh produce. Some only want canned goods or have no refrigeration.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:28AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Thank you from someone that works at a food bank. Fresh produce is hard to come by.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:31AM
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Thanks for posting this! Ample Harvest is a good resource that will direct gardeners to local food pantries that can take excess produce.

I'm hoping to have enough excess to do this.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:46AM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

Thank you for posting this. The master garden demo garden here in Montgomery County donates all the produce from their garden to the local food bank. The events put on by the University of Maryland Extension always seems to have a booth with info about how to donate to the local food bank. Alas, while all the other booths usually seem overwhelmed, the food bank event seems to get no attention.

But seriously. Who wants to have all that great food go to waste? Giving it to someone who will appreciate it seems like the best possible thing to do. :)

Angie (who lives and grows near the Manna Food Bank headquarters)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:55AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Thanks for mentioning Ample Harvest, McRose. It's a great resource for matching home gardeners to local food banks that will accept their produce. Just type in your zip code and you'll get a listing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ample Harvest

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:48AM
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What a great resource!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:55AM
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Thanks for bringing this up again.

GW - is there a way to pin this to the top?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:04PM
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I'll bump it up again.
Great resource!
A couple years ago my niece and her husband had so much excess on their farm that was rotting (this was in Maine) and I called all around to find a food bank that would take it -- all they wanted was canned food!

Very good to know about this resource. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:44PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

If one cannot find a food bank to take it, you could also try contacting local churches. Ours has a food pantry, no questions asked every month and some of the local farmers donate produce when they can.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:54PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Possibly, also a shelter or similar where they cook meals and would use right away. My garden is a community garden plot that is part of a larger urban farm which donates 70% of their produce. We can add any excess to their twice weekly pickups. They supply food pantries, but also a cafe where people can work for a meal.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:30PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Don't forget that your donation is tax deductible! My food bank weighs my produce and gives me a receipt. Of course, determining the amount of the deduction is the real challenge. Here is some information from TurboTax on the subject, for those who are curious.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turbo Tax on Food Donations

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:04AM
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Monmouth Master Gardeners sponsored by Rutgers Extension has something very similar to what hothabaneroLady posted. We have a Plant a Row for the Hungry (called the PAR garden). All the Master Gardener interns participate in planting and maintaining the garden. All the produce is donated to the local food banks.

Last year, the interns grew 3400 lbs for this cause - way to go Master Gardeners. This year, the produce hasn't been that bountiful, still we have probably crossed a 1000 lbs. so far.

And like mentioned above, it does not have to be the large quantities, you can donate your extra tomatoes or beans. They appreciate every bit.

Great cause, and thanks for the shout out.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:30PM
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