It is the time of year again where those of us who have gardens start seeing the fruits of our labor! Sometimes we have an abundance of produce and we want to donate it somewhere, but you can’t think of where to go. St. Joe’s Food Pantry in Appleton hopes that you’ll remember them when you’re looking to share your garden produce. Here are some quick guidelines for making sure your donation is acceptable:
- Fresh produce should be in its whole, natural state — uncut with no signs of mold, spoilage, or severe bruising. The skin should be intact, and it should not be peeled, washed, or processed in any way.
- Follow these steps when selecting, handling, storing, and transporting the produce you plan to donate:
- Handle fresh fruits and vegetables safely to minimize the risk of food borne illness.
- Don’t mix produce types. Keep each type in separate, clean, food-grade containers or bags.
- Clear off as much mud and dirt as possible from the produce you plan to donate. Please do not wash the produce to help maintain its freshness.
- Choose produce that has no signs of mold, spoilage, bruising, or insects.
- It is recommended that harvesting of produce is done early in the morning. If it’s covered with dew, dry it with paper towels. Inspect each item for serious bruising, insect damage, or over-ripeness. Don’t donate produce that you wouldn’t buy or use for your own family.
If you use pesticides in your garden, always read and follow the label recommendations carefully. Pay particular attention to the time to when you should harvest after the last use of the pesticide. If you are not absolutely sure that you followed the label when using pesticides, the food should not be eaten or donated.
For more information about donating food to St. Joe’s Food Pantry, visit the website where you can also find information about the “Plant a Row for St. Joe’s” program.