Farm Fresh Offerings at Our Daily Bread
Sunday afternoons have become a special time for Our Daily Bread during the summer months. This is when mounds of fresh produce are rolled into the Our Daily Bread kitchen. Hundreds of pounds of fresh summer favorites, including collard greens, kale, cabbage, squash, and cucumbers are among the bounty that is delivered weekly by Arthur Morgan of Hamilton Crop Circle.
This effort began last summer when Morgan approached Our Daily Bread with a tremendous offer. He was able to identify a large surplus of unsold fresh produce from the Baltimore Farmers' Market, held each Sunday underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, which would typically be discarded at the end of the market day.
Morgan strongly believed that this produce could be put to good use feeding Baltimore's most vulnerable citizens. This prompted Morgan to connect with all the vendors at the market, asking them to donate their unsold produce to Our Daily Bread. Morgan distributes bins for the farmers to fill, which he later loads on to his truck and drives just a few blocks up the Fallsway to Our Daily Bread where the produce is processed that same afternoon.
"Preparing 400 pounds of collard greens or broccoli might initially seem intimidating. Fortunately many of our volunteers are drawn to this service and realize the potential that it creates for improving our menu," says Aaron Kennedy, volunteer coordinator at Our Daily Bread. "We are thrilled to be receiving all this produce for the second year now, and we are making great strides to improve our capacity to incorporate it into the meals we serve."
Once the produce has been sorted, washed, chopped, and stored, it is ready to be served as the side vegetable on regular plates, in place of a canned vegetable, for at least the next couple of days. Often the abundance of perishable produce allows guests an extra vegetable side dish, such as a bowl of mixed salad.
Thanks to the large quantities of high quality, farm fresh produce, serving both a regular and a vegetarian option has been made even easier and guests are beginning to recognize how the diversification of the menu furthers Our Daily Bread's mission of serving with dignity and respect.
The surplus of produce even prompted one donor to purchase Our Daily Bread a flash freezer, which allows produce to be stored and used later in the week or in the winter months after the market is closed.
With the help of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future's Baltimore Food and Faith Project, a program which works with area religious organizations to raise awareness and find solutions to problems with the current food system, Our Daily Bread is making sure they utilize their gift of produce in the most efficient ways.
A plan is in place to improve Our Daily Bread's capacity to use and process the donated produce, begin systematically tracking and evaluating their efforts, and educate volunteers and clients about the nutritional and environmental benefits of serving fresh, local produce. Our Daily Bread also hopes to reduce waste and support the local farmers who donate their produce, by collecting food scraps that the farms can use to create compost.
If you or a small group would be interested in supporting this work by preparing vegetables on Sunday afternoons, please contact Doris Franz-Poling at (443) 986-9031 or email@example.com.
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