Helen eyes the table of greens and remembers when as a kid they spent summer Sundays sharing dinner with siblings and cousins filling up on plenty of collard greens and other family favorites. She doesn’t eat much these days but it is still a struggle to put together a meal and rarely has she been able include this childhood favorite.
For many seniors, the Farmer's Markets offered during the summer months, takes them back to those days before prepared and fast foods. Everyone cooked from scratch so the memories of home grown produce, favorite recipes and special gatherings are pleasantly linked in their minds. Food was more plentiful, or at least it seemed like it, Helen thought. Time has a way of softening some of the realities we dealt with in the good old days. But the truth today for Helen and many more like her, who struggle with food insecurity, is that sometimes nutritious produce is too expensive, inaccessible or unavailable for seniors, which is why the Farmers Market program is so widely embraced by all but especially seniors.
Second Harvest is embarking on the 11th year of this program. We are fortunate to be partnered with local growers and farmers who can provide the fresh produce. These just-picked items come to us and are sent out to the scheduled Farmers Markets in a very timely manner.
The Farmer's Market program serves by setting up temporary tables at locations throughout the Second Harvest Food Bank service area in partnership with Second Harvest partner charities. Recipients register with a Second Harvest partner to qualify and then may select their produce from tables filled with locally grown fresh food and produce or may participate in drive-by pick-ups of pre-packed boxes of produce and recipes. A typical market will feature 8-12 different produce items including apples, green beans, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, greens (multiple varieties), leeks, lettuce, peaches, parsnips, pie pumpkins, radishes, squash (multiple varieties), sweet corn, onions, potatoes, turnips, watermelon and zucchini.
The Farmer's Market season runs from July through October. Last year, we put on over 100 Farmer's Markets, feeding over 10,600 families who received an average of about 48 pounds of produce per household. Like Helen, so many of these families can now have nutritious produce to last a week to 10 days afterwards.
For a list of Farmer’s Market dates and locations, check our website here.
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