|Striped German - an Heirloom tomato - one of our favorites.|
Each week we had three volunteer sessions. On harvest days, people would gather the ripe produce and bring it to be washed, weighed and boxed for distribution. Volunteers would take a break shortly before the Food Bank opened and do their "shopping", taking home all they could use. The rest was wheel-barrowed over to the Food Bank - 50 yards away.
|Harvest on display for volunteers to "shop". No one is ever charged money for the food that is grown.|
In 2011, we expanded into using the full Monroe/Crowson garden plot (last year we only used about half of it). Even though we didn't plant the back half, Steve Rose had tilled it in the Spring of 2010 and we mulched it quite deeply with hay/straw. The garden was very fertile.First the totals from 2010 to give some perspective:Our big producers in 2010 were:Beans: 225 poundsCucumbers: 653 poundsTomatoes: 1,285 poundsTotal pounds: 3,533Market value of total harvest: $9,950
Here are the highlights of the 2011 harvests:Lettuce: 877 headsPotatoes: 910 poundsWinter Squash: 291 poundsTomatoes: 2101 poundsMarket value of total harvest: $14,504
|Genny with lettuce harvest.|
We've made a great connection with Betty Briggs who, with her husband, Pat, oversees the Harrisburg Gleaners. The Gleaners group has many able-bodied members who glean fruits and vegetables from local farmers and share the harvest with "adopted" families and people in need in the Harrisburg area. Betty's group has many people who still "can" and store food so they were able to distribute our surplus to those who would make good use of it. Towards the end of the season, Betty began to come help in the gardens as well. We anticipate deepening the connection between our two groups next Spring - either they will come volunteer more in the Monroe garden and/or we'll help them get a Sharing Garden started closer to where they live. (If anyone has a lead on some land we could use to start a Harrisburg garden, let us know).
|Peppers from 2010|
Linn/Benton Food Share has also helped us with our surplus. They deliver food to the Monroe Food Bank every other week. Often we just boxed up what wasn't taken by Food Bank customers and they would transport it to a soup-kitchen/food bank in Corvallis to be distributed.
Chris and I also had fun playing "Santa" some weeks and drove around Monroe to friends and local businesses passing out beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and whatever else was ripe, off the tailgate of our trusty 1968 GMC pick-up truck!
The Great Monroe Leaf Drive
Well, it was supposed to happen on November the 5th but the weather was lousy and frankly, there aren't that many leaves that have fallen yet. We've postponed it till further notice but we still welcome any leaves brought to either garden. LOCATIONS
Our Ever-Evolving Wish-list: Mostly it's the same old stuff: garden supplies and building materials that need a new home/second life. There are a few new specifics though we'd appreciate you keeping an eye out for...
We're going to build another greenhouse! We'd like to make it from two steel-tube carports attached end-to-end. If you know of a used one (or two) that need a new purpose, please let us know. Here's a picture of what we're looking for (or something similar). We'll need two that are the same. We don't need the tarp covering.
|We need two carport canopies to build a greenhouse with.|
Fruit and nuts: If you have windfall fruit or nuts that you'd like to donate, please bring them to the food bank so they can be shared with those in need. If you are physically unable to harvest them yourselves contact us and we will do our best to arrange for volunteers to assist. Link to Food Bank Hours
It is always such a delight to see Nature's abundance and beauty as we harvest the gardens. Here is a gallery showing some of this year's highlights. Enjoy!
Lettuce, Beans and Apples:
|Red Iceberg Lettuce|
|Never eat anything bigger than your head!|
|A beautiful mix of greens and reds.|
|Scarlet Runner Beans|
|"Winter Bananas" - a great storage apple|
|Gleaned apples. |
It's great to see these apples going to feed people and not just rot on the ground.
|Saving seeds to grow sprouts (winter greens) and next year's crop.|
|We saved gallons of seed this year.|
|Pickling cucumbers in the hay.|
|Delicata Squash - sweet, golden meat and tender skin.|
|Buttercup Squash - hearty, orange/golden meat.|
|This potato weighed three pounds!|
|Another "Striped German" - low acid. All yumm!|
|These are called "Long Toms" - a delicious paste tomato|
|A whole tray of "Long Toms" - the river that runs close by our garden is called the "Long Tom" too!|
|"Hillbilly Potato Leaf"Tomatoes|
|A succulent "Brandywine" tomato|
|Close-up of a "Striped German"|