Durango-area gardeners, farmers share food for Produce Bounty Project

Donations for low-income families accepted Sunday

Issac Otero, a volunteer with Cooking Matters, and Darrin Parmenter, Colorado State University extension agent, collect food from the Durango Farmers Market Saturday for the Produce Bounty project. Durango Farmers Market vendors also donate to Manna regularly. Enlarge photo

Mary Shinn/Durango Herald

Issac Otero, a volunteer with Cooking Matters, and Darrin Parmenter, Colorado State University extension agent, collect food from the Durango Farmers Market Saturday for the Produce Bounty project. Durango Farmers Market vendors also donate to Manna regularly.

Fresh squash, tomatoes, zucchini and other produce will help supplement the commodities given away for low-income families on Monday.

The Produce Bounty Project, now in its seventh year, is put on by Colorado State University Extension Office, Cooking Matters Colorado and the Durango Food Bank. The event typically collects between 2 and 4 tons of produce a year from Durango Farmers Market vendors and local gardeners, said Darrin Parmenter, La Plata County extension agent.

Food has the highest nutritional value shortly after it’s harvested, and Project Bounty helps pass along the fall bounty to people who earn 185 percent or less of the federal poverty threshold.

Several dozen backyard gardeners usually drop off produce and Parmenter expects about 100 families to benefit from the donations.

It’s possible donations may be a bit lighter this year because the late frosts prevented many fruit trees from producing, he said.

“We’re banking on more vegetables,” he said.

Project Bounty Project will be accepting donations at the La Plata County Fairgrounds until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Qualifying individuals and families can receive food and recipes at the La Plata County Fairgrounds from 8 to 10 a.m. on Monday.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

Durango Farmers Market vendors donated vegetables to the Produce Bounty Project on Saturday. The produce will be given away along with commodities on Monday. Enlarge photo

Mary Shinn/Durango Herald

Durango Farmers Market vendors donated vegetables to the Produce Bounty Project on Saturday. The produce will be given away along with commodities on Monday.

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