Farmers' Markets Donate to Those in Need

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

RENO, NV - We often hear of food banks requesting cans and non-perishables to hand out to families and people in need. But what if those families could get the freshest fruits and vegetables possible - and on a regular basis? Our local farmers markets are making that possible.

"These have all been picked this morning," says Vickie Detomasi, of Workman Farms. She's showing off her squash and she says customers can actually feel how fresh they are.

"Oh, yeah, they can. When they pick it up, they go ooh that's fresh because it's prickly," she says.

That's what you get when you shop at farmers markets like the one at the Summit. It's what brings people out there on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The woman who runs the market is now working on trying to get what's leftover at the market into the hands of people who normally can't get this kind of produce.

"Certain berries, they won't last more than a day in the heat," explains Shirley Sponsler, of Shirley's Farmers' Markets. "And so at the end of the market, if they have that kind of product left, they can't sell it."

And many want to donate it. That's what has been going on at the farmers market in Sparks - thanks to volunteers from Lighthouse Spiritual Fellowship, who pick up the produce and deliver it to seniors and needy families immediately.

"As soon as we get the vegetables and fruits, we distribute within the next hour or two. It's in somebody's plate. It's in somebody's meal for that evening," explains the spiritual director of Lighthouse Spiritual Fellowship.

And at the farmers market at The Grove, they've been working with St. Paul's Episcopal Church to do something similar.

"We've done it the last three years," says Todd McKenzie of McKenzie Properties. He's also a co-owner of The Grove. "So far this year, they're collecting roughly 40 to 50 pounds of food each week. That translates to roughly 160 servings per week."

Farmers say being able to help out our community isn't just in good taste...

"It really is a good feeling," says Vickie Detomasi, of Workman Farms.

Many farmers say they like the idea of donating their leftover fruits and vegetables to organizations that feed the needy. More would do it if those organizations are open to finding a way to pick up and distribute the food on a regular basis.

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