22,000 lb apple donation to Seagate Food Bank

Johnston Fruit Farm

Apples are in season, and the Johnston Fruit Farms in Swanton have produced a high yield this year.

"It's a great crop. Lots of apples for people to come out and enjoy," says owner Martha Mora.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Seagate Food Bank will get to enjoy some of that crop for free, courtesy of Johnston Fruit Farms.

"We donate a truckload," Mora explains. "It's well over 20,000 pounds every year."

Mora is a third generation apple farmer, and says most orchards donate the last of their harvest at season's end; however, she does something a little different. "We're not donating what's left, but we're donating the first quality apples," she says.

Farm fresh apples are a luxury that few who receive help from Seagate Food Bank get to experience.

A huge problem faced by orchards every year is waste. Thousands of apples get wasted every season because there simply isn't enough manpower to harvest them.

That's thousands of mouths that could be getting fed.

Martha and her husband are two of just a handful of people that pick the apples at her orchard. The bulk of her business relies heavily on u-pick customers.

In order for the food bank to get those 22,000 pounds of apples, they need help from the public.

"We just ask that they come. They get a basket and we put them to work," says Aggie Alt with Seagate Food Bank.

The all-volunteer effort got about 1,000 people to show up for the 2012 event. They hope to get 15,000 people to lend a hand this Saturday, September 28.

They will have events and a petting zoo to make the day a family friendly attraction.

Make no mistake, apple picking is hard work, but you won't go hungry while donating your time.

Johnston Fruit Farms is open until October 31. They also have pumpkins available for Halloween carving.