What do you think of when you think of food banks? Potatoes, rice, maybe boxed cereal and beans? Perhaps some spoiled milk? If so, consider touring the FamilyWorks food bank. You may be surprised to see all kinds of fresh produce, year-round, gourmet breads, organic pastas and beans from PCC, fresh eggs and milk, meat, ice cream, and many of the things you might normally buy in a grocery store. How does a food bank acquire all these foods? We have a network of community partners – grocery stores, P-Patches, and other donors. During the summer months, one large source of donations is the Wallingford Farmers’ Market.
On Wednesday afternoons, the parking lot at the Wallingford Center is converted to a festival of local and fresh foods, pastas, cheeses, hummus, ice cream bars, and even tamales (half-price if you’re unemployed!). You will also find a community resource booth, at which FamilyWorks will hand out goodies (maybe chocolates, pencils, or stickers) and ask you to complete a survey about community needs. Sometimes you may see the John Stanford International school raising money for its new playground, Seattle City Light distributing free sustainable light bulbs, or the Wallingford Art Walk.
Just as the market is drawing to a close at 7 PM, you’ll see vendors filling crate after crate, donating their wares to people they may never meet. Just yesterday, vendors of all sizes donated fresh-baked bread, raspberries by the flat, bunches of sweet onions, unidentifiable (to me anyway!) purple roots, carrots, lettuce of all types, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries (both red and Rainier!), corn on the cob, cauliflower, and fava beans galore! To be exact, there were 332 pounds of food! Today, the food bank is distributing these colorful, healthful, and above all tasty items to our clients. Thus, when you enter the FamilyWorks Food Bank, you’ll see a lot more than you may have imagined would be at the food bank.
What does one do with fava beans, you may ask? I was none too sure either, so I asked the farmer who donated two crates worth of them. He told me to shell them, then either boil or blanche the beans. Then the bean-casing comes off quite easily, and you just eat them or put them in salads or with pasta. It seemed like a lot of work to me, so I asked about the casing – turns out you can eat it if you don’t mind extreme bitterness.
What’s your favorite farmers’ market recipe, fava beans or otherwise? Please share by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page. And thank you once more to all the donors who make our food bank so inviting and healthful!