Our beet crop this year has been extremely bountiful. So much so that many of our beets have gotten to a point where they are extremely large. Our taste tests in our own kitchen have shown us that the large beets are just as good as a normal sized beet but they are difficult to sell and manage and we really are trying to produce a beet that is a little more manageable. Fun fact: the biggest beet we've harvested so far clocked in at almost 3 pounds!
Instead of letting those extra large beets go to waste, we took some time this week to harvest nearly 500lbs of them and we donated them to the ECHO food shelf in Mankato. Donations of this size are rare for our farm because we try very hard to produce as close to as much as we can sell and not too much more. Most of our donations are small quantities that are leftover after the farmers market or CSA shares that aren't claimed for the week.
Generally, we don't have very much excess produce. Our CSA shares and farmers market outlets work so well together that we have very little excess at all. As mentioned above the small amount of excess produce we do have is donated to ECHO, fed to our chickens, or composted depending on the quantity, quality and type of produce left over.
As a bonus for us, ECHO let us take home some of their massive stack of produce crates. My understanding is that they get a lot of truckloads of produce donated to them when it's rejected by Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart and others so the end up with pallets of produce crates. We'll put these to use to store our winter squash and potatoes and they might even help us make another donation of beets when ECHO has worked through their inventory.