Visser Farms to host Ottawa County’s 1st ‘Pick for Pantries’

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A program aimed at putting much-needed produce in the hands of the hungry kicks off Tuesday in Ottawa County.

“Pick for Pantries” will make its debut at Visser Farms’ strawberry patch, located at 7200 112th Avenue in Olive Township.

A grower for Visser Farms says it is prime strawberry picking time for the next couple of weeks, with the help of water.

“We’re praying for rain, but you know we’re blessed with pumps and everything to make it happen,” he said.

The farm is providing specialty containers, which visitors are encouraged to purchase and fill with strawberries they pick. The filled container will then be donated to Ottawa County food pantries.

Ottawa Food coordinator Lisa Uganski says the program’s benefits are three-fold: Encouraging people to eat more healthy food, promoting local food, and raising awareness about local hunger.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s an issue,” said Uganski.

She says it also provides a fresh alternative to the rare but typical produce in pantries, like tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes.

“We don’t often see a lot of fresh fruit, and this is one way to let the community pitch in and get some fresh fruit, fresh local fruit while supporting our local growers at the same time,” she said.

The “Pick for Pantries” program will take place June 13, 17, 20 and 24 at Visser Farms’ strawberry patch.

Ottawa Food hopes to expand the program to blueberries in July, with the help of Bowerman Blueberries.