- Author: Lanie Keystone
This is the time of the year when all the fruits of our gardening labors come blossoming into wonderful produce. At first, we're so elated to see the first few zucchinis, peaches, or tomatoes appear and feel like such successful gardeners. But, as the summer moves on, those first few begin to multiply exponentially and there's no off switch. That's when visions of Lucy and Ethel working at the candy factory conveyer belt trying “fruitlessly” to box those chocolates pop into our heads—and it's a race to use up those fruits and veggies. But, let's face it, there's just so much jam, cakes, pies, and casseroles one little gardener can make—and a finite number of unsuspecting neighbors we can surprise with our surplus on their front porches. That's where “Project Produce” comes in to save the day.
Project Produce was initiated by two Solano County Master Gardeners this summer, when they realized that their “cups runneth over” with surplus produce.
Based on other Master Gardener Counties' projects, MG's Sherry Richards and Tina Paris created a similar project for Solano County Master Gardeners. The concept is a simple but brilliant one.
Any extra produce that you have can easily be donated to a Solano County food distribution center or directly to the Contra Costa/Solano County Food Bank. Their original goal was to have 500 pounds of donated fruits and veggies by summer's end. After a very short time, the donations are almost at that original goal and now they hope to have 800 pounds donated.
That's where you, dear gardener come in. If you have an over-abundance of garden goodies, you, too, can donate your garden gifts. This blogger just had the joy of giving several pounds of peaches. Whether you have a small garden or a full orchard, this is, as Tina says, “A win-win for everyone.” And, if you're a Solano County Master Gardener, UC has given permission for you to claim 1 hour of volunteering for every 5 pounds you donate. What an easy, fun, and fulfilling way to earn volunteer hours. And remember, ALL gardeners are encouraged to participate, whether you're a Master Gardener or not.
Here are a few places you can drop off your extra produce: In Vacaville--The Storehouse 1145 E. Monte Vista St.; St. Mary's Parish 350 Stinson Ave; Epiphany Church 300 West St.—In Dixon—St Vincent De Paul Food Locker and in Fairfield--Fairfield City Church and Salvation Army; or you can donate your surplus directly to the Contra Costa/Solano County Food Bank—2370 Watney Way.
When you donate your produce, let Project Produce know by making a comment to this blog telling us where and what produce you donated and how many pounds your donation is.
With that information, your contribution will be tallied in with that of all of the other generous gardeners. It's that easy and truly fulfilling act of giving.
While we're at it, let's set a new goal of 1000 pounds donated by Solano County Project Produce!!
That will be a perfect way to thank Sherry and Tina for their wonderful idea and all of their work to help feed Solano County residence.
Happy growing! Happy harvesting! Happy giving!