It’s growing season!
Each year dozens of home growers harvest more than they can consume. Many share their harvest with friends and neighbors, directly and through the Food Bank. To make it easy for growers and to cut down on food waste, we’ve listed five steps to smooth the transition from seed to plate.
1) Please call before you harvest
Questions to ask the staff: Can you take my donation now? What day can you accept it? (We prioritize locally grown food, but due to space constraints and current inventory, we sometimes have to decline. You’ll find our 2022 produce wish list after step 5.)
2) Please don't overgrow!
Bigger is not always better. For example, we do not accept skateboard-size yellow squash or zucchinis. Those are best used as joke gifts to leave in your neighbor’s car or to turn into cars at the County Fair. Please harvest at the size you see in the grocery store.
3) Harvest in the morning
Harvesting in early morning, when produce has the highest water content, makes for a longer shelf life. Most produce is 85 to 95% water when harvested and loses 5 to 10% of its weight after harvesting. Please assume that it could be as long as seven days before your donation is consumed.
4) Wash and cool right away
For produce that starts to wilt soon after harvest, the best practice is to harvest in the early morning, wash it, and refrigerate it right away. Plan beforehand with our staff as to when you can bring it to our cooler. If your produce prefers to be in water, like herbs and leafy greens, please keep them watered until you deliver them. Covering some produce in a plastic bag can keep it fresh and hydrated. All produce must be clean and ready to distribute. Our staff and volunteers are running just to keep up with increased demand, so we’re unable to wash or process produce.
5) Trim the excess
If it’s not typically consumed, please leave it in the compost pile. Trim off carrot tops, extra stems, leaves, and roots. This will help us do what we must within our limited space and workforce — move food fast.
ADDITIONAL VITAL INFORMATION
So we can offer clean and healthy food and maintain our commitment to sustainable food production, we ask that your donations be grown without commercial pesticides. And a reminder that San Juan County is proud to be GMO-free!
Here’s our 2022 home-grown produce wish list:
• Herbs (all)
• Fruits (all)
• Berries (all)
• Snow peas
• Green beans (Young pole, wax, or bush beans. Harvest before the seeds are visibly evident.)
• Peppers (all)
• Winter squash
Some home-grown produce we might not need in 2022
We have contracted with local farms for ample amounts of these items, but you can always ask us if we need more.
• Shelling peas
Thank you from our board, our staff, our volunteers, and, especially, our customers!