An Embarassment of Riches

As we’ve often mentioned, we are the official garbage collectors for the local food pantry.  This is a win-win. By the time the grocery stores donate bread and veggies to them, they have about 48 hours to serve or give it away, and frequently just can’t do it in time or it is so far gone that they won’t give it away to humans. So we and our livestock keep about a dumpster full a week out of the local landfill, saving the pantry the tipping fee and us fifty bucks in feed.

Every so often we get a bonus. Twice we’ve had truckloads of yoghurt just past the expiration date and this season is just incredible. The pantry’s last distribution (as compared to meal) was Monday, and the next is January 5th. The last meal they cooked was Tuesday and the next is Monday. (They served Wednesday, but a local synagogue donated the whole thing, in serving pans.)

Meanwhile, the supermarkets were stocked up, and of course had so much left over that they’re donating early because they know it can’t possibly sell. We emptied the walk-in cooler Wednesday, and made an appointment to come back at noon tomorrow for more. I’ve been freezing peppers and mushrooms and feeling guilty about the perfect eggplants that the sheep are eating. I feel weird enough normally, feeding my animals fruits that I never saw until I was in my thirties, but at least it’s usually going bad. These are perfect Venezuelan bell peppers, $3.50 a pound. At least they’ll get cooked with. The mushrooms cost even more. Normally the pigs will eat mushrooms, but right now the pigs are eating only apples and grain products. Everything else is beneath them.

The phone rang this morning. It was the pick-up driver. His truck was full, he was going out again tomorrow, could we come today? We agreed he’d leave us 24 banana boxes full of produce, make tomorrow’s appointment and decide then about a second trip. He left us 31 boxes, including four like we usually get. The pigs got those tonight and there is a pick-up truck full of perfect citrus sitting in the driveway. Frozen lemon juice anyone?

We thought harvest season was over. We’re looking for canning lids today, because the freezer is going to overflow.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 1, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Wow, that’s quite a “harvest” you’ve got there! What a good way to save money and make use of something that would otherwise go to waste.

    My wife and I hope to start a small pasture-based farm soon–we’ll have to keep that in mind.

    P.S.–Just wandered over from Holidailies.

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