Fairbanks Food Bank: Please, no more zucchini

Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2004

FAIRBANKS A word of advice for people donating to the Fairbanks Food Bank: stop with the zucchini already.

A hot summer has yielded so much of the squash, folks can't even give it away.

''We've got enough zucchini now,'' said food bank director Samantha Kirstein.

This has been one of the hottest summers on record in Fairbanks over the past 100 years and local gardeners, as well as the food bank, are reaping the benefits.

As of Tuesday, the summer of 2004 was tied with 1975 for the hottest summer on record in Fairbanks in 100 years, according to Rick Thoman at the National Weather Service. The average temperature of from May 1 to Aug. 9 was 61.4 degrees.

While a single daily record has yet to be broken, there have been 25 days so far this summer on which the temperature has hit at least 80 degrees.

Zucchini isn't the only vegetable that has benefited from the warm conditions, said Michelle Hebert at the Cooperative Extension Service.

''We've had a lot of ripe tomatoes outside this summer,'' she said. ''People are already eating corn. How many years do we get corn in Fairbanks? One out of five?''

Food bank worker Peggy Stearns said some people have been donating zucchini two and three times a week. Usually the bank gets flooded with rhubarb.

Kirstein said she is as guilty as anyone else for the overabundance of zucchini at the food bank. Her family is getting tired of eating zucchini for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

''I've made soup, cake, bread and a wonderful variety of side dishes, but my family has finally reached the point where they say, 'Thank you, that's enough zucchini now,''' Kirstein told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The zucchini donated to the food bank are placed in food boxes that are handed out to needy individuals and families.

''If it's an 8-pound zucchini, we try to cut into pieces because that's too big for one family,'' she said.

So far, no one has complained about getting too much of the squash, Kirstein said.

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