EUGENE, Ore. — Gardeners wait months for their fruit and veggies to ripen.
Once it does, that bumper crop can often be too much to handle. But there are places where you can take some of that excess produce.
Young gardeners at Hamlin Middle School have already tasted some success from the seeds they've planted.
“I was kind of nervous because I didn't know how it'd be, but now it's a lot of fun,” Ivy Patterson said. Patterson will be a 7th grader this fall.
Not just planting, but they've also built the frame for a large greenhouse at their schoolyard garden, giving them a place to continue gardening through the winter months.
“Get them away from the computers, get them outside and get some hands-on, doing some fun activities outside. And they're learning so much watching vegetables grow,” Hamlin special education teacher Zak Scotton said.
There's a time to watch and water. But that quickly turns to time to pick; sometimes producing more than even the casual gardener can handle.
“So this is more than we can eat ourselves, it's just two of us, so I was doing errands right by Food for Lane County and knew they could take anything we have to offer,” Eugene gardener Judi Horstman said.
On a hot afternoon, volunteers from the Eugene Area Gleaners are dropping off a hefty offering, more than 200 pounds of blueberries, courtesy of Creswell Farms.
“They said they just couldn't get anybody to come out for the u-pick, and it's better to have the tax receipt and know it's going to help the community than just to let it rot on the ground,” Brandy Collier said. Collier helps organize volunteers with the gleaner group.
“There is a dip in the summer in what Food for Lane County gets, so this is always welcome,” Horstman said.
Food for Lane County workers admit it's difficult to predict how much they'll receive in a given day, but any donations won't sit on the shelf for long.
“It's kind of feast or famine sometimes. Produce needs to be turned around really fast and we can do that,” Dawn Marie Woodward said. Woodward is the events and media relations coordinator at Food for Lane County.
Just a few ways you can share the wealth from your bumper crop.
On Mondays, Food for Lane County also offers Produce Plus sites around Eugene and Springfield where families can pick up produce on a first come first serve basis. You can find them at three Department of Human Services buildings.