US: Local growers donate produce

In several places, produce is harvested which then can not be shipped to regular clients. Some growers decide to donate the produce to local charities. 

The Berkshire Education and Correction Services aquaponics training facility at the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office and House of Correction was getting ready to harvest its very first crop of lettuce when the county was crippled by the COVID-19 crisis. What do you do with nearly 1,700 heads of lettuce in the middle of a health pandemic? You donate them.

Thanks to the efforts of Robin McGraw, deputy sheriff and president of Berkshire Education and Correction Services, Mark Lefenfeld of Berkshire Bounty, Brenda Petell of Berkshire United Way and BUW volunteer Nina Garlington, all of the lettuce was distributed among various organizations throughout Berkshire County over the course of several days.

In Hughesville, a portion of lettuces which should have been on their way to the Bronx Terminal Center, went instead to 'Friends Feeding Friends'. Sales of the greens are to 'high end' restaurants in New York City while some are air-shipped, that is until the invasion of the coronavirus halted dining room service throughout the city's boroughs and nationwide. The halt left Lakeville Specialties, a hydroponic greenhouse near Washingtonville, with what to do with their product normally shipped twice a week. 

The product was delivered by Penelope Shetler, vice president of operations and harvest supervisor at Lakeville. She said, "Of our 26 employees the harvest crew has been fully furloughed with maintenance on emergency call only. Otherwise, only a few workers arrive a couple days a week to bag for food pantries. Growers however, continue to seed in hopes by the time the 30-day cycle to harvest arrives, orders will come in. Due to the unknown future, growers are seeding two-thirds of our usual crop."

Read the full stories here and here


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