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Let the free-food season begin!

July 15th, 2009 · 5 Comments · Growing food

I’m happy to report that the first installments of free food have arrived on my counter (not counting the cherries I picked). You could say I earned a little cucumber similar to the Lemon Cucumber (at Johnny’s Seeds) and a little tomato, both of which I harvested as agreed when watering neighbors’ gardens while they were away.


But other items are just plain free. There’s this perfect specimen (above) summer squash my nephew Rob gave me. He’s having fine success with his first garden. It’s a Saffron variety (Cornell U. description), he said.

And friend Lynn brought in three English-type cucumbers (RecipeTips description) and the following giant heirloom tomato, all grown on her farm.


I could have also had my fill of Linda’s sister’s zucchini excess, but it’s among the few bits of free food I’m able to decline—especially when the grower lets zucchini grow to monstrous proportions. I don’t have enough ways to make zucchini interesting, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, Hillary has made a fine harvest of chanterelle mushrooms from the yard, although I let her eat most of them since they don’t excite me.

How about you? Are you the lucky recipient of someone else’s bounty? What do you do to repay the favor, besides sharing meals with the kind friends and relatives (which I’d do anyway)?

Meanwhile, if you have more than a little excess, remember to check with your local food bank or homeless shelter to see whether they accept fresh food. You can find food banks at Feeding America. And for Lawrence readers, the city website lists several possible recipients.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer

    That tomato looks awesome! Do you know what kind it is? Maybe a costoluto genovese?

    I wish my tomatoes were producing like that. Sadly I’ve only got one so far on each plant. None of the flowers seem to pollinate; they just end up dropping. If you end up with more free ‘maters than you can handle Janet, let me know. :)

  • Janet Majure

    I’ll see if I can find out the variety, Jennifer and let you know. Meanwhile, don’t feel too bad. Lynn and family have a hoophouse, so they got an early start on their planting. I must tell you, though, I don’t think it’s possible to have more tomatoes than I can handle!

  • Susan G.

    Looks like Brandywine to me.

    • Janet Majure

      Good call, Susan. Lynn said she wasn’t sure (evidently there was some scrambling of plant labels), but she thought it was Brandywine. I know it’s a much beloved variety. It sure was tasty!

  • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    Despite having a large garden, the timing of my crops is not always similar to my neighbors – not to mention sheer crop failure – so I have been the happy recipients of green beans and cucumbers. And maybe we’ll get sweet corn. I can then repay in – generally – greens in the spring and the fall.

    Works wonderful.

    and you are right, most food banks are happy to receive fresh food.