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Produce Pays Off
Hot days and cool nights mean many gardeners have been giving their food plots a little extra attention.
"It`s a hobby. It`s one of those things, you can come down early morning or late at night even, work on the garden a little bit. I look at it as great therapy," said Steve Neu with the Bismarck Community Garden.
Now that many vegetables are ripening, the question for many gardeners is when to pick and how to safely care for it.
"People get a lot of tomatoes coming out of the garden, and it seems like all at once. There just seems to be tons coming out. So there are a lot of options to do with that," said Megan Myrdal with the NDSU Extension Service.
The NDSU Extension Service is teaching classes every Thursday throughout August covering food preservation.
"A lot of people are intimidated by the process of canning. But if you plan for it and you know what you`re doing, it is a fairly simple process. But it`s also very important to know which type of canning you`re supposed to be doing," Myrdal said.
Canning food goes back more than a century and it remains practical and inexpensive even today.
"Yes, I make a lot of pickles. I made relish last year and canned some beans and hot sauce. A lot of hot sauce," said Carol DeForest with the Bismarck Community Garden.
Now, if your vegetable patch is producing way more than you can possibly eat. Lots of places would be happy to take them.
"Food pantries are kind of hurting for donations these days. Our food pantry here operates strictly on donations," said Pam Weng with the Community Action Program.
The Community Action Program serves 10 counties in North Dakota. Supervisors say they`re hoping to collect half a million pounds of food for families in need this season. And many gardeners say they don`t mind sharing.
"We sure wouldn`t want to see it go to waste. We`re more than happy to give it to people who need it," said Lee DeForest with the Bismarck Community Garden.
Those who give to the program will receive credit from the Hunger Free Garden Project. A rewarding gesture that will save others a little change in their pockets.
Click on this link to find a nearby Hunger Free Garden drop-off site.