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When bins come in from the fields, forklifts set them onto platforms which are then emptied onto sorting tables. The potatoes then enter bagging machines where volunteers staple the bags closed and load them onto pallets. Pallets are then loaded into refrigerated trucks for transport to cold storage.
When bins come in from the fields, forklifts set them onto platforms which are then emptied onto sorting tables. The potatoes then enter bagging machi...
Volunteers pick potatoes after a tractor digs them up and then they transfer them from buckets to large wooden bins. Tractors take the bins to the bagging area.
Volunteers pick potatoes after a tractor digs them up and then they transfer them from buckets to large wooden bins. Tractors take the bins to the bag...

Over 32,000 pounds of potatoes harvested during farm project


Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Issue 33, Volume 17.
Paul Bandong
Staff Writer


The call went out for help and over 250 volunteers comprised of families, business groups, teams, school groups, and individuals arrived to work in the dirt and the sun to help harvest over 32,000 pounds of potatoes within four hours on July 27 at the Outreach Farm Project in Rainbow.

"This was our biggest single harvest in our five-year history," said farm director Troy Conner, "and by far the most challenging due to the scope, size and complexity of the operation. To put this into perspective, this is more pounds than we produced in our entire first year of production!"

Volunteers were treated to a barbecue, games, activities and refreshments.

Conner attends Rancho Community Church in Temecula and, five years ago, he heard about the need for food for local struggling families hit hard by the recession.

The non-profit Outreach Farm Project was founded in the spring of 2009 as Connerís response to that need. His family runs an organic sunflower farm in nearby Rainbow and they initially donated two, then three acres to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to help supplement food distribution programs. Crops include tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, beans, squash, pumpkins, carrots, broccoli, peppers, beets, and radishes as well as potatoes.

In 2009, Rancho Community Church formed a joint venture Advertisement
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with the Orange County Rescue Mission to create the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission. The Outreach Farm Project provided over 150,000 pounds of food to both organizations.

Last yearís potato harvest was 7,000 pounds; this yearís goal is 50,000.

"This potato harvest is a big part of our total produce production goal," said volunteer coordinator Jayne Barrett.

In 2011, the harvest exceeded the rescue missionís needs and the church opened a farmerís market at its location Sunday mornings. All of the proceeds are donated back to the farm for the next seasonís needs or to the rescue mission for non-food needs.

"This Saturday was the culmination of over seven months of planning, countless hours of preparation and hard work, with dozens of individuals and companies pitching in," said Conner.

Southland Fabrication of Fallbrook generously donated design and fabrication services to provide the out-feed tables for the bagging operation.

Two trucking companies donated cold storage for the potatoes that will be distributed over the next several months.

The Outreach Farm Project relies entirely on donations and volunteers for seeds, equipment, supplies, as well as labor for ground preparation and harvesting.

Volunteers are welcome at the farm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. Contact Jayne Barrett by email at jaynebarrett@verizon.net, or call (951) 232-5754 for more information.


 

1 comments

Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 at 7:10 am
How absolutely wonderful!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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