This post is for the locals, but I think you’ll appreciate the good things that the 3000 Club Food Rescue is doing in Arizona. From the site:
Millions of pounds of produce were being thrown away at the dump in Nogales, Arizona every year. With our food banks desperate for fresh produce, The 3000 Club was established in May of 2008 in order to rescue, transport and distribute these produce and make it available to food banks throughout America.
I have witnessed this terrible waste in the very area in which I live. I smell the rottening fruit and vegetables at certain times during the year. The flies go out of control due to all the rotting produce. I am so thrilled to hear about an effort like this being done to help Arizonans.
There is a new food program they have at my church in Phoenix. Central Avenue and Rose Lane. (Church for the Nations) On Saturday Feb 26th from 10 am until 12 noon for a $10 dollar donation you can get up to 60 pounds of fresh vegs. I think they are different every month. I got a ton of zuchini, yellow squash, spagetti squash, grape tomatoes, egg plant, orange peppers. I prepared and froze most of it except the egg plant and the spaghetti squash. It is for anyone, you don’t have to qualify.
I told Mr. A about it, and decided I would take a drive into the big city to check it out.
Sixty pounds of vegetables for $10 works out to $0.16 a pound. However, considering that I had to drive over 50 miles one way I would need to take my gas consumption into consideration. My 1996 Nissan Pathfinder gets 18 miles to the gallon, and having paid $3.12 a gallon for gas on my last fill up, I figured I would use at least 6 gallons of gas, or $18.72. OUCH.
Still, $28.72 for sixty pounds of vegetables works out to $0.47 a pound. I figured it was still a good enough (screaming, okay?) deal to drive in and check it out.
I arrived at the church a few minutes after 10 o’clock. There were already about twenty cars in the parking lot and there was a row of tables set up in the typical Farmer’s Market style. As I walked toward this area a friendly woman asked me if this was my first time here and explained that I would need to go to the end of the tables, sign the registration sheet, pay my $10 and choose my vegetables.
There were already people in line ahead of me, filling their boxes with vegetables. The ladies at the “registration” table explained the process again, and handed each person either a regular sized box, or two shorter boxes. We then worked our way down the line and chose the vegetables we wanted. Here is what they had available last Saturday:
- Corn on the cob
- Yellow Bell Peppers
- Organic Eggplant
- English Cucumbers
- Red Plum Tomatoes
- Yellow Tomatoes
- Green Chili Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Hamburger Buns
- Some type of kool-aid style drinks in small bottles
- Bonus item for the first few dozen: Watermelon
As I walked through the line, all the people helping to give out the vegetables were very friendly and encouraging. They encouraged everyone to take as much as they wanted. There were pallets filled with boxes and boxes of produce, so I imagine they hoped for a large turnout.
Here is a picture of the produce I ended up bringing home (corn on the cob not shown):
The corn on the cob had mildew on the outer husks, but the ladies explained to us that the ear was in good condition and they pulled back the husks. It was perfectly good inside.
One of the men helped me carry my box to the car, and told me I was welcome to get a second box. I decided I would do that, since I was spending almost $20 in gasoline, so if I bought two, that would put the cost per box at $10 in gasoline.
All told, I ended up with 61 pounds of vegetables. After considering the cost of gasoline, and paying $20 for two boxes of vegetables, my final cost was $0.63 a pound.
That is still an amazing cost for vegetables, and will be very helpful for us in this financial crunch.
Once I got home I had a lot of work cut out for me. Tomorrow I’ll tell you exactly what I got, and the work involved to process everything. For one thing, it involved using a dehydrator. I own a Nesco, but I would love to invest in an Excalibur because they hold so much more and that is a plus when you come home with sixty pounds of vegetables!
If you live in or around the Valley of the Sun, this link will take you to the dates and places for upcoming the Market on the Move events.