How to Make the Most of Your Homegrown Produce

Growing food at home or in your neighborhood community garden feels great. You sweat and nurture and hope for favorable weather, anticipating the delicious results. Maybe growing zucchini is your thing. You’re the queen or king of growing zucchini. You know all the recipes for turning it into sweet or savory creations. You show up at every dinner party and event bearing zucchini bread. Every. One. People smile and say they love it but maybe they’re just a teensy bit sick of it. You start giving out zucchini to everyone who visits you just to get rid of it. You have pounds and pounds of the stuff and if you don’t use it up soon, it will rot and that hard work will be wasted.

It’s the curse of the brilliant gardener: too much of a good thing. Here are three ways to put those gorgeous fruits and veggies to good use and make a difference in your community.


Help a Nearby Food Desert

If you live near Cincinnati, Dayton, or any major city, chances are there’s a food desert within a short drive. Your produce could help. A food desert is defined as a place where no supermarket exists for at least a mile radius and residents lack transportation to get there. They rely on convenience stores and fast food restaurants for nutrition. According to the Food Empowerment Project, those who live in food deserts are more at risk for heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Suburban farming provides a potential solution. Search Food Pantries Near Me for local organizations. Then, check with them to make sure they accept fresh produce. You might also look into donating to schools, neighborhood centers, and community events.


Sell Homegrown Produce at a Farmers Market

Selling fresh produce at an Ohio farmers market typically does not require a license, according to Ohio State University‘s agricultural program. If you live in a different state, check the requirements there. If you want to turn your fruits and vegetables into baked goods you may need a license even in Ohio. The website Ohio Proud can help you find a farmers market near you. Visit one near you to see if you like it and, if so, apply to become a vendor.


Hold a Neighborhood Potluck

If you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with a shared garden, or if many of your neighbors have gardens, pool your resources. Hold a potluck or block party and invite everyone to share something. They can bring anything from fresh fruit to entrees they make from their harvest. You could even hold a contest to see who can create the most delicious or creative dish. Give a prize for the best zucchini bread!

These ideas should give you some great ways to put your excess food to good use. Remember to compost whatever you can’t use, along with any scraps. Composting reduces waste and, even better, gives you a rich source of nutrients to grow even more!

Photo: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

KristinaHow to Make the Most of Your Homegrown Produce