Foundation grant helps Community Harvest save more fresh produce

Community Harvest Food Bank is now able to wash and freeze almost double the amount of fresh produce thanks in part to a grant from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation. The food bank recently purchased two large vacuum sealers and one industrial-sized salad spinner to greatly increase the output and efficiency of the agency’s blanch and freeze process. The vacuum sealers and salad spinner have been put to work during the harvesting of local produce, like corn and green beans, delivered to the food bank this summer and fall.

This equipment doubles the output and efficiency of the previous blanch and freeze process by a significant margin. Previously the drying and sealing steps of the process created a significant bottleneck issue that severely impacted the volume and speed at which volunteers could blanch and freeze sourced produce. 

The new vacuum sealers and salad spinner will help Community Harvest Food Bank meet its goal of distributing more fruits and vegetables in the coming year. The food bank’s board of directors recently approved a new nutrition policy, which is in early stages of implementation. One aspect of the policy calls for having produce represent 35% or more of the total food distributed between all programs. Last year, produce represented 30.2% of all distributed food.