Orchard View joins others across Oregon and Washington in donating fresh fruit and vegetables to organizations making a difference in our communities.

Harnessing the Generosity of Farmers

It’s 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning in late July, and 15 families are lined up outside SnowCap Community Charities in the Rockwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Many have been waiting for over an hour in hopes that they’ll get first dibs at this food pantry, which is the largest in the state, serving over 9,000 people a month. The old model was that food pantries gave clients a pre-packed box of food. But SnowCap, like an increasing number of food pantries across the U.S., allows clients to “shop” or choose for themselves what they want to eat. There are limitations on some items, and generally speaking, the earlier they arrive, the better the pickings.

Another reason clients arrive early is SnowCap’s impressive assortment of seasonal produce from local farms. Amongst the offerings on display today are enormous green zucchinis, pattypan squash, purple turnips, greenbeans, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, and cherries from a farm in the Columbia River Gorge. There are also huge bags of frozen diced carrots, with or without corn.

A willowy 33-year-old woman named Erin takes a five-pound clamshell container of luscious-looking cherries and tells me she has been a regular at SnowCap for a year. “I cook a lot,” she says. “I make an ‘end of the week soup’ using up whatever is left in the fridge.” She especially loves the squash, radishes, and tomatoes, when they’re available. What will she do with the cherries? “Eat them immediately!”
(Read the remainder of the article by clicking on “Harnessing the Generosity of Farmers”)