Don’t Let Your Extra Food Go to Waste

Your local grocery store has a large variety of fruits and veggies all year long.  If you need a tomato in January, no problem.  We have all become accustomed to just walking into the store and picking up whatever we need and forgotten that there are seasons for things.  And when you want something that isn’t in season, it has to be shipped from where it is in season.  Since I have tried to buy local more and more I have been reminded that to get things off the local farm means eating what is ripe right now.

This goes of course for my garden too.  The cucumbers are ready when they are ready.  And you will wait for them.  And then when they are ready you get about a hundred cucumbers a day that need to be eaten or will go bad.  This is the nature of the beast.

Last year was our first year dealing with this whole process.  Since two people can only eat so many of whatever a day (see last year’s story about pesto) there was a lot of produce that got wasted.  Even if you are the weird person who pushes cucs and tomatoes on everyone you know, it’s still not enough.  I am sad to say that a lot of stuff we worked hard to grow went bad and got thrown into the compost.  I hate throwing food away.

So this year I started looking around for somewhere to donate our extra garden treasures.   Most places won’t take stuff you have grown in your garden.  What I found was the local soup kitchen in Red Bank, Lunch Break, would love to have your veggies.  In fact they have set up a sort of farmers market there on Tuesday mornings where people who need fresh veggies can come and get them.  I think it’s a pretty great idea.  I have extras and someone can use them.  And they are also not getting some crappy canned thing, but fresh local food.

I am writing this post today in hopes that others with extra food will know there is somewhere to bring it.  So every Monday you can bring your veggies in and they will have them at the Gardener’s Market on Tuesday morning.  This is what I brought over this Monday.  There are about 20 cucumbers, 2 large bunches of basil and a bunch of parsley.  And I don’t even think I made a dent in our supply.

Before we planted the garden this year I was reading an article about how to “Grow A Row” for those in need.  Basically you plant a little extra and donate it.  It doesn’t cost any more if you are starting with seeds since the seed pack always contains more than you need.  So instead of keeping only two of the cucumber sprouts like we did last year, we kept six.  Doesn’t cost anything but time trying to manage the wild beasts.

So if you have extra garden goodies and are local to Red Bank, NJ then check out the Lunch Break site here.

For the article from Earth Easy (and other great stuff about organic gardening) check there site out here.


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