Despite the current difficult circumstances we are finding ourselves in we, as a community, nation and world, find ourselves in it is imperative that we let you know that the gardeners and gardens are continuing to work with our partners both at the local and county levels. We are continuing to provided food and support to all our neighbors in each of our communities.
Aside from the food banks there are numerous other resources available to assist all of us in coping with day to day issues during these trying times. The best ways to access these other resources is through the internet. Among the resources at our local level include: The Leader, the Peninsula Daily News, KPTZ Radio, Local 20/20, Jefferson Healthcare as well as your local school district.
And despite the dark clouds, we have a lot of good news to share. We have had a number of successful work parties recently. They’ve been doing plantings as well as harvesting for the local food banks. We have a new food bank garden. An eighth food bank garden has been added and it is located at Raincoast Farm on Rt. 19 in Port Townsend. We are looking forward to a growing partnership with them in the future. And we are also welcoming a new volunteer coordinator, Rachel Smith! So, yes! There are good things happening despite some of the other news.
So we wish you all the best of health. Take care of yourselves and check on your neighbors (from a safe distance), especially those in susceptible circumstances. These can be the best of times as well as the worst of times. We can make a difference.
The Food Bank Farm & Gardens of Jefferson County, WA
The Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County are continuing a fund raising campaign to purchase two residential size freeze dryers. initially during a pilot project we will be freeze drying only produce grown locally and given to the food banks by grocery stores or other suppliers.
This pilot project will:
Reduce Waste – The freeze dryer pilot project will help us reduce the amount of wasted food. Hundreds of pounds of fresh produce and fruit come into food banks during the three months of peak harvest and not all can be given away before it spoils.
Create a Food Reserve – A freeze dryer will allow us to create a supply of food for winter months, when very little fresh produce comes in. If fresh produce or canned produce (which has a shorter shelf life than freeze dried) is not available, the freeze dried produce can be distributed.
Assure a Supply of High Nutritional Value Food – Freeze drying preserves 96% of the original food value of the fresh food, a higher percentage than canning or dehydrating. Freeze drying can also produce a reconstituted product that is more attractive and closer to fresh than canning or dehydrating, or even frozen. Additionally, freeze dried food does not require special storage units or electricity.
The dryers we plan to purchase are large stainless models from HarvestRight, with a maximum annual capacity of 2,500 lbs. These are commercially rated models (required for placement in a licensed kitchen, a health department requirement). We will gather data during the 2-year pilot project and use this data to plan and implement phase 2, which includes further development of freeze drying locally. One goal of phase 2 is to establish and foster a small business based on freeze drying. Another is to acquire a mobile facility that would provide small batch processing capability (canning, dehydrating, and freeze drying) to small farmers, allowing them to create a value-added marketable product. The mobile facility would also serve as an educational platform for local schools and agricultural extension, demonstrating and teaching food preservation on location.
The cost of the pilot project will be $20,000. The final cost of phase 2 is yet to be determined, but will be in the neighborhood of $75,000.
Your donation will be 100% dedicated to this specific project.
Dearest Community, Please join The Community Wellness Project at the annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 24th, in support of garden education, local farm-to-cafeteria and public school nutrition efforts! Hosted at Finnriver by the Community Wellness Project. Tickets can be purchased at jccwp.org
Your tickets and contributions go to supporting school garden outdoor classrooms, community connected learning opportunities and healthy farm-to-cafeteria menu options for both the Chimacum and Port Townsend School Districts.
Creating a foundation of healthy eating in school children supports academic progress and all around well-being.
Hands-on activities in the school gardens gives students a direct connection with the food they eat and not only will improve wellness but also plants the seed of stewardship of the natural world around us. Please help share the word of our little fundraiser and post to your events calendar!
Greetings volunteers and community members! Happy May Food Bank Farm and Gardens volunteers!
I want to take a moment to thank you all for the incredible support you have all shown the Food Bank Farm and Gardens through this time of global crisis. I know a lot of people are hurting, and it is wonderful to see so much interest and commitment to the Gardens.
So much has happened this month!
First of all, we will be starting up work again on the highly productive Port Townsend High School gardens which experienced a small hiatus over the winter. See below for information regarding the first work party of the season!
Huge progress has been made at RainCoast Farms. A group of seven (or so) volunteers shows up every Thursday to prep that garden beds for planting.
SunField Farms will be planting soon for winter storage crops. Email the Volunteer Coordinator if you have any interest in volunteering.
If you know of anyone who is food insecure, make sure to tell them about Just Soup. It is located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend every Tuesday from 1130-130. Free curbside soup delivery, including a fruit item, a protein bar, bread and spoon for anyone who shows up.
Also, the Port Townsend Leader wrote a fantastic article about us that has gotten the word out. Already, numerous people have contacted us interested in volunteering due to this article. If you haven’t had a chance yet to read it, here is a link:
And lastly, follow us on our new Instagram account @jcfoodbankfarms
Thanks all and be well!Interested in volunteering?? Want to learn how to grow vegetables?? And become a contributing member of your community?? Volunteer with us! We have so many opportunities available to you. Also, if you are interested in a weekly gardening gig, click the button below and let our volunteer coordinator, Rachel, know what your needs are, and she can get you set up with a garden that works with your schedule.
MAY VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Swan Farms Every Tuesday from 10-2! Located behind the Thrift Store at 10632 Rhody Drive in Port Hadlock. Right across the street from Carl’s Building Supply. RainCoast A brand new Food Bank Garden generously donated to the organization by RainCoast Farms! Will meet every Thursday from 10-2. Located at 12224 Airport Cutoff Road. Super close to the San Juan Taqueria by the Airport. Birchyville Meets every Friday from 10-12. We are currently expanding this garden to increase production for the upcoming season! Located down the street from Mt. Townsend Creamery, gardener parking is at the dead end of Sherman Street. Volunteer Now!
WORK PARTY AT PORT TOWNSEND HIGH SCHOOL GARDENS
Saturday, May 30th from 10-1. The High School Gardens need your help!! The gardens are usually cared for by high school students, but as school has been cancelled for the rest of the year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the garden has gotten out of control!! Join us later this month to get the garden back on track! The garden is hugely important and donated almost 500 lbs of produce to the food bank last year! Bring your own tools and a mask. Again, put May 30th on your calendar! Click below to let the Volunteer Coordinator know you are interested!Volunteer NowPlease be aware that the safety of our volunteers is of paramount importance!! During the Covid-19 outbreak, please bring your own tools to volunteer parties, wear a mask if you have one, and comply by social distancing guidelines. The pictures below are various examples of how we have been complying by safety standards while working and harvesting. Thanks all!
Upper left to right: Jo Yount, garden manager for the Quimper Grange, harvesting using a face mask and gloves. Alexa MaCaulay, garden manager of Farm’s Reach. Lower left to right: Mary Hunt planting chard and kale at RainCoast. Kellen Lynch wrestling a cedar root with face mask.
Top left to right: Cauliflower from Swan Farms. Rhubarb, kale and herbs from Birchyville. Bottom Left to Right: Spinach from Farm’s Reach. Salad mixes from the Quimper Grange.
Trying to grow Raspberries? The Quimper Grange just installed a magnificent new raspberry trellis system that will support the plants as well as make it easier to harvest. Built by our own highly regarded and skilled volunteer, Steven Cade, it will last for years! You might want to replicate this at home or better yet … call us to get Steven’s contact information.
Seasonal Recipe&May Gardening
Rhubarb is here!!! Finally! After a long winter and spring without fresh fruits, rhubarb gets a hero’s welcome. This recipe is an old family recipe of Jo Yount, the garden manager of the Quimper Grange.
1. Mix the first three ingredients, let stand for 30 minutes. 2. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring CONSTANTLY. Cook for 12 minutes. 3. Remove from stove. 4. Add jello, mix until completely dissolved. 5. Put into sterilized jars and seal.
Having problems with a mystery pest? Go out at night with a flashlight and surprise them. That way you’ll be able to discover what is eating your veggies and how to deal with it.
Transplant tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants. Mulch with hay to retain soil warmth and moisture for the coming dry season.
Set up your slug traps before they take over everything!
If you are hoping to grow corn, a good trick is to pre-sprout the seeds before direct sowing in the garden.
Hot Tip Do you have any leftover kale from last year’s crop? Instead of ripping it up and composting it, let it go to seed. The bees love the flowers and will flock to your garden!
We gather at RainCoast Farm’s Food Bank Garden every Thursday at 10 am to 12 noon. This year is our first at this garden site, although the garden has existed for at least 15 years. This garden is on the smaller side with only 2,240 sq ft, but it has 22 raised beds and an established drip irrigation system, so it was a no-brainer when the owner/managers asked if we’d be interested in taking it over this year. They are focusing on their orchard and berry crops this year and needed someone to keep their vegetable garden looking vital and productive. We are happy to oblige!
We have a nice-sized group of volunteers who mostly live nearby in the county, so we accomplish an amazing variety of tasks each week. We started working in the garden on April 23rd, 2020 and have done lots of weeding, revitalizing of the grow beds and spring planting so far. Bed prep has involved digging out tons of Red Cedar tree roots that have grown into the fertile soil over the years and replenishing and amending the soil before planting. We have also been spreading cardboard as a weed barrier on the pathways and topping it with wood chips that are produced on-site. This process should help keep weeds from overtaking those paths. Next week we should be completing the pathway rehab and doing lots of planting of the warmer crops, so it should be a fun time to visit. We did deliver our first harvest of the year last week with 20 lbs of Rhubarb to the PT Food Bank! The farm is located at 12224 Airport Cut-off Rd, Port Townsend, WA. The driveway has a nice sign, just past the county airport and Prospect Road, which leads back to the Kala Point development. The farm’s website can be found at this link: Raincoastfarm.org.
See you soon at the garden!
– Lys Burden, FBFG Board Member RainCoast Farms Food Bank Garden Manager