Written by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
Over the years I have noticed that peppers seem to grow like crazy toward the end of the season. I’m not sure if it’s the cooler weather, the realization that life is coming to an end, or perhaps my imagination, but the plants seem to be racing to produce as much as possible to finish out the season. This season, peppers have been the most donated fresh vegetable at Re/Max Unlimited. 10/19 I brought to the pantry a tote bag full of green, sweet peppers from my garden. On the same day, another pantry volunteer brought a huge bag of red, sweet peppers from his garden. We mixed them in a bushel basket and the colors were amazing! These fresh peppers were very popular with our guests and within a couple of hours, the basket was empty.
I wrote in my last article that we had replanted most of our Pantry Garden beds with fall crops. I am pleased to report that we have already begun to reap the benefits! In October we were able to distribute some of our new herbs including 27 bags of dill and 17 bags of cilantro. We also distributed a variety of our new greens including pak choi, tat soi, kale, endive, turnip greens, and chard. It wasn’t an extremely large quantity of greens since our plants are just getting started, but it was enough for some guests to add to soup, sandwiches, or a salad. Our fall brassicas including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are growing well and we should have some ready in time for November’s distribution.
I want to thank this year’s very dedicated group of Pantry Garden volunteers: Sue Butchinski, Jenn Dietz, Sylvia Lee, and Tom Noctor. Our garden would not have gotten cleared, planted, watered, weeded, harvested, fenced, nor the grass cut without this hard-working team! The WCHI board recently made a change to the required clearances for the Pantry Garden, so everyone is invited to join us Tuesdays at 4 p.m. We will especially need help on November 7th and 14th to harvest and down pack greens for pantry distribution. Enter the address 3540 South Ruch Street, Whitehall into your GPS. When you get to the surveillance sign at the end of the macadam, keep going. Follow the gravel drive and park by the garden. We look forward to meeting you and putting you to work!
Here are our YTD Pantry Garden numbers: 373 zucchini, 225 yellow squash, 24 bags of radishes, 304 tomatoes, 241 peppers, 18 bags of red beets, 96 eggplants, 3 tote bags of parsley, 36 ears of corn, 38 bags of dill, 6 bags of string beans, 17 bags of cilantro, 3 bags of turnip greens, 8 bags of pak choi, 10 bags of tat soi, 2 bags of kale, 7 bags of endive, and 3 bags of turnips.
Don’t forget, as you clean out your vegetable garden for the year or as you keep picking into the late fall, we will gladly accept your extra produce. Please drop to Re/Max Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or call me at 610-379-6823 and I will gladly pick up. We remain committed to nothing going to waste and will share your donations with our pantry guests, at free community meals, and with other pantries through Plant-A-Row.