Dear Deb - December 2023

Posted November 15, 2023

Dear Deb: Just curious about what farmers do with all the produce they don’t sell at the farmers’ market? Jesse L., San Francisco

Jesse: We are pleased that so many farmers’ markets have farmers who donate their extra fruits and vegetables to those in need. Their generosity is amazing! Various food banks, community services, and religious organizations feeding the homeless benefit from their kindness.

We have many local organizations that visit the farmers’ markets at the end of the day to gather fresh fruits and vegetables that our farmers are happy to donate. From Alameda and Brentwood to several South Bay and Peninsula markets, organizations arrive to collect the day's leftover fresh produce and then take it to their food centers to distribute.

Most of the food banks and other service organizations also offer the farmers tax forms that they can fill out for a tax write-off. Here are the farmers' markets that have food banks and other organizations that collect excess fruits and vegetables to help those in need. If you know of an organization or food bank that needs food donations, please speak with your Market Manager for more information.

Our farmers also utilize leftover produce by composting on their farms, feeding their animals, or giving to workers and their families, and neighbors. All of us, from farmers to farmers' market operators, strive to avoid most produce being discarded or tossed into landfills.

You can also help by supporting your local farmers, purchasing more produce than you need, and then donating it to an organization you are interested in contributing to. There are many county and city-operated food banks and church organizations that are more than happy to accept your donations!

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