A Creative Way to Give Extra Produce.
My church has a sharing counter. No one knows who started it and it had been going long before I got there. The premise is simple – if you have something to give for free you put it on the counter. During the day people will stop by and grab an item. At the end of the day the counter is usually empty with the items having been taken by a new family.
Most weeks you can find things like books, magazines, kids toys, or even a sweater or scarf. The unwritten rule: your donation must be in good condition and you must take away what it left at the end of the day. The sharing counter only has a short life each week and is not for collecting junk.
Create a sharing counter at work or church
I have a friend who is a master at sharing extra produce on the sharing counter. He brings tomatoes, winter squash and apples, but his specialty is really large zucchini! He grows those babies to 1 foot lengths and then brings them in to share. During the peak zucchini season his excellent zucchini shares will spill over into boxes on the floor.
People always take them because it’s the sort of thing you cannot buy in the store. What can you do with a really large zucchini?
- In my opinion, this is the best size to use for zucchini bread. Here’s my favorite recipe.
- Baked zucchini boats are also a tasty way to use up large fruits. Here are a couple of recipe ideas – Tex-Mex Zucchini Boats from Home Made Interest and Zucchini Boats from Real Food By Dad.
- Of course you can always shred it and freeze it for later use. Here are directions from Fresh Bites Daily. My motto: Never pass up a free zucchini. You can put it in just about everything!
How to start a sharing counter
- Get permission from the “boss” whoever that may be.
- Find a place that everyone will see. Maybe it’s a side table in the lunchroom or a counter at the entrance.
- Set the rules of use. What kind of things can people bring? How long can items stay on the sharing counter? What happens to leftover items and who will be responsible for disposing of them? Is there a limit to the number of items that can be brought each week?
- Make a simple sign for your sharing counter. At first people won’t know what to make of it and will need to be reminded. After awhile it will just become second nature and the “oldies” will tell the newcomers what it’s all about.
- Do some advertising so people won’t forget. That could be a mention in the weekly newsletter or a post on the company facebook page. Either way, until it becomes second nature, people will need a reminder.
Share extra produce
There are many people who choose not to grow their own garden. Maybe they feel they don’t have the time, or that they are brown thumb gardeners. Be kind and share extra produce with them.
Like my zucchini sharing friend you can plant an extra row of produce just to place on the sharing counter.
You’ll feel good about helping others and who knows – maybe the makings for your next yummy zucchini boat is waiting to be nabbed next week!
September is National Organic Harvest Month and to help you make the most of your harvests, I’ve teamed up with these other amazing bloggers. You can find all our posts at the hashtag #OrganicHarvest15.
Please be sure to check out their tips and more: Rachel from Grow a Good Life – Kathie from Homespun Seasonal Living – Teri from Homestead Honey – Chris from Joybilee Farm – Susan from Learning and Yearning – Shelle from Preparedness Mama – Angi from SchneiderPeeps – Janet from Timber Creek Farm