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Garden giveaways in current times?

Garden giveaways in current times?
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  • Garden giveaways in current times?

    Post #1 - August 12th, 2020, 6:43 pm
    Post #1 - August 12th, 2020, 6:43 pm Post #1 - August 12th, 2020, 6:43 pm
    Finally our garden is producing a bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers as well as peppers. In the past I told friends, family and neighbors to pick what they want. For the shy folks I usually picked a bag full to drop off on their porch. Now, I wonder how to share the bounty. I do not want anyone to feel obligated to accept veggies if they are in fear of breaking social distancing rules or to have the veggies thrown out in an abundance of caution. I do not can or freeze tomatoes and cubes finally grow too big and yellow when over ripe. Any suggestions?
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  • Post #2 - August 12th, 2020, 9:47 pm
    Post #2 - August 12th, 2020, 9:47 pm Post #2 - August 12th, 2020, 9:47 pm
    I garden in one of the community gardens in Evanston, and we collect excess produce, and somebody drops it off at the Hillside church food pantry on Saturday morning. Your friends might still be interested in your tomatoes too. I got a late start planting my tomatoes, and so I don't have any excess to give away yet. Last year I gave some away to some other people in my condo building. You might try a soup kitchen too, but I know they don't want something unless you have enough to feed 30 people. The first year I had my garden we had 47 days where it was at least 90 that summer, and I was picking five pounds of tomatoes every other day, and I only had 7 plants. Back then I was only growing conventional plants though. Now I grow a lot of heirloom tomatoes, and they do not produce nearly as well
  • Post #3 - August 12th, 2020, 10:19 pm
    Post #3 - August 12th, 2020, 10:19 pm Post #3 - August 12th, 2020, 10:19 pm
    I would think garden produce that doesn't need to be refrigerated --- tomatoes, zucchini, etc. --- can be treated like any other groceries that can be held at room temperature for a few days to ensure safety from virus transmission. Move them out of the hot sun into the garage or a pantry shelf , somewhere safe from mice, for a few days, and they should be just fine, especially if subsequently washed.

    Now, that's what the recipient could do; I understand that your question is, what can the giver do? I like your first suggestion to invite people to come to your garden and pick what they want, but for those who are shy about doing that, would it help to suggest the above to them --- that you bring them some produce that they can just put aside somewhere for a few days, or wash right away if they feel more comfortable with that?

    As for the canning/freezing option, I don't have any advice about cucumbers and the like, but as for tomatoes, if you're not up for canning or freezing a bunch, maybe you could ask a few neighbors and find out if one of them is?

    Also, I can't vouch for this personally, but I've read that excess whole tomatoes can just be tossed in bags and frozen ( ... oes-whole/).
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  • Post #4 - August 13th, 2020, 2:04 pm
    Post #4 - August 13th, 2020, 2:04 pm Post #4 - August 13th, 2020, 2:04 pm
    I think he is wondering if people would be willing to take produce off his hands during the pandemic. All you can do is ask them. I just looked and there are more food pantries in the Northern suburbs than I though there was. I donated some tomatoes once to the one on Elm Street in downtown Winnetka, but I just looked at their site, and they don't list fresh produce as one of the things they desperately need. As I remember they took them that one time, but I don't know if they were actively looking for fresh produce donations.

    There are five food pantries and three soup kitchens in Evanston. The soup kitchens serve 100 people each time they open up, and so they would need enough tomatoes to serve 100 people. Hillside church food pantry serves 1,500 people right now. They are open on Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon. They are located on Crawford near Central Street in Evanston, and I know they do take fresh produce. They show up at the Evanston farmer's market right before they close to pick up produce that farmer's have not sold on Saturday. There is another large food pantry on Howard near McCormick that is operated by Vineyard church. They take fresh produce too. The city of Evanston also has a produce mobile twice a month where they distribute 25 pounds of produce, meat and dairy. They get 750 people show up at each one of those. They get the food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. I think it is government surplus. There is also a food pickup that they city started back in April that was setting up every week, but I think now they only do it twice a month. That was at James Park, but I don't know if it is still there. There is also one at the Salvation Army.

    There are also food pantries in places like Highwood, but I don't know if they take fresh produce Hope this helps, Nancy