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Farm to Family Program Generates Abundance

February 22, 2011
Broccoli harvest
Broccoli is harvested for shipment to the Food Bank

Given the incredible bounty of California agriculture, there’s no reason why farm-fresh food shouldn’t be available to as many people as possible.

Thanks to the statewide Farm to Family program, the San Francisco and Marin Food Bank has added broccoli and cauliflower to the variety of fresh produce we can distribute consistently.

How it works

Normally, growers go through a field three times in one season to pick cauliflower and broccoli. When growers go in to make that third cut, they now harvest for retail and state foods banks at the same time.
We have the retailers’ stringent standards to thank for the bounty. Most shoppers favor uniformity and consistent color in their vegetables, which growers strive to deliver in their crops. Any off colors, odd sizes or just plain unusual-looking veggies wouldn’t normally make the cut. Of course, even the homeliest of vegetables are just as nutritious as their market-ready counterparts.

An enormous bounty

One slightly-too-small crown here and a few errant purple spots there, and soon, you’ve got a lot of vegetables that wouldn’t make it to the supermarket – 23.9 million pounds worth in Fiscal Year 2011-12.
Farm to Family is one of the ways the Food Bank is able to make fruits and vegetables more than 50 percent of its distributions to non-profit partners.