What to Do With Your Extra Harvest

Posted on Nov 1 2011 - 2:14am by Mike Lieberman

I received an email from Amy asking what she should do with the extra peaches that she harvested. She wasn’t talking about 10-15 extra peaches. She was talking more like 150lbs worth of extra peaches.

She said, “I like peaches as much as the next girl, but there is no way, even after jams, jellies, preserves, conserves, chutneys, freezing, and all the pies I can handle that I will be able to even make a dent in that amount!”

This was a great opportunity to tap into the Urban Organic Gardener community on the Facebook Fan Page, where I posted the following question, “You’ve grown way too many of a certain crop. You’ve already pickled, fermented, can and preserved your brains out. What do you do with all of the extra?”

Here are some of the responses or view all of them here.

Me say…“If you are growing something that your neighbor can’t, it’s a great way to share your harvest with them and trade.

Tracy Gould said…“Donate to your local food bank, low income school, church pantry,There are so many places that would LOVE to get fresh organic produce!. See Food for Thought’s page! My favorite food bank.?”

Lauren Kelk recommended…“Cropshare!”

Lee Robertson said…“Share the bounty,that’s my rule….we “shared” enough zucchini this year to supply 10 households will all they could use. Also enough tomatoes that 4 households ,besides our own, were able to can up a good amount for the winter.”

Nathan Blakesley said…“I figure if God gives me a bountiful harvest and has provided me and mine more than enough for our needs, then it’s only right that I share with those around me.”

Susan Doane said…“In my world there is no such thing as “to much” but if there were my neighbors and near by family love the extra’s. We also have a family pantry close by for those who are struggling. Although they prefer canned product, they do accomodate for fresh every so often. Especially around holidays. ♥”

Elizabeth Frazee Fisher said…“Our farmers market has a booth set up where you can drop off extra produce and also the vendors can donate at the end of the morning also. I had a meeting at my house Mon night and sent zucchini home with several people. Our community food pantry will take homegrown excess also. I am thinking our Salvation Army food kitchen probably would take excess. I can and freeze as much as I am able, more than I need as also give to son and daughter and their households. I would feel terrible if anything went to waste!”

Mary Kaschak said…” I always take my extra eggplant to the local Greek restaurant. The owner is so delighted he dances around to his Greek music and gives me a free Greek coffee and baklava. I don’t expect that of course but it sure is lots of fun for both of us.”

Micron Cat said…“Take it to the nearest Title I school and give to the social worker to send home with the kids.”

What are some other suggestions that you can add to the list below?

  • Anonymous

    I work for a food pantry and fresh produce is loved by everyone coming through. We have a small garden that high school kids tend to and the produce goes straight into our food room. Our city also has several youth farms that share their extra produce with us. Our local food bank that distributes food to the pantry’s, Food For Lane County (OR) has several gardens as well. We love fresh, local produce here in Oregon!!!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s what’s up!

  • http://www.modgrow.com Mike

    I would take the extra produce to work to give away. Extra herbs and vegetables that could not be eaten or given away for whatever reason can be thrown in the compost bin to be fed back to your garden.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Word. I’m sure the co-workers would love it too.

  • Guest

    If nothing else I would give it away to friends, family, co-workers or anyone else.

    This still has an impact because those people will remember the gift and perhaps return the favor in the future.  Those people will have to spend a little less on food so that is money in their pockets. A win/win for all.

    The beautiful part is that nature gives us this harvest for “free”, if we are smart about how we go about it,  save for our effort. It makes us wonder how people fed themselves before there was money.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I’m sure that they’d gladly take it.

  • Readmomsemail

    When I lived in CA, I remember being at the park with my kids and a lady came up to us  with a grocery bag full of plums, asking if we wanted any.  I suggest this to others. 

    Moms in the park + fresh produce = healthy kids!!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Most definitely!

  • Maggie

    I belong to RIPE Altadena (Residential In-Season Produce Exchange of Altadena) a group started by Gail Murphy of Altadena (Southern California).  We gather monthly at a local park to “exchange” surplus backyard produce, twice a month in heavy produce months. At the park you bring your surplus and everything is laid out on the picnic tables and families take what they need.   There is also an online posting “anyone need feijoas” (apples, jujubes, persimmons, peaches, loquats, kumquats, pomegranates, lemons, limes, grapefruit…) and anyone who wants what you post is free to pick them up (usually from your front porch).  It is not bartering or trading, its a gift.  Produce is given without expectation of a trade.  However, if i have give apples out in September, I usually magically find peaches left on my porch in June.   RIPE has grown from surplus fruit to include veggies, herbs, flower bulbs, seed, homemade cheese, baked goods, and more.  We also have classes on a wide range of produce growing and preserving topics.  The group has grown to about 250 members and there are now spinoff RIPE affiliate groups in nearby cities.  To join RIPE you need only to be able to provide produce in the exchange sometime in the year.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That sounds like a great group. Thanks for sharing!