‘Master Gardeners’ donate piles of produce to needy

You’ll be amazed to see how many fresh, organic veggies the Multnomah County Master Gardeners have grown, and given away, so far this season …

From all over the county, including outer East Portland, volunteers come to help in the Multnomah County Master Gardeners garden.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Volunteer members of the Multnomah County Master Gardeners (MCMG) have been busy this summer, having obtained permission to work during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in June, to work in what they call the “Multnomah County Demonstration Garden”, located in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

[To read ‘Master Gardeners’ finally allowed back into their garden, CLICK HERE.]

Invited back to visit the garden in late summer, the gardeners were all abuzz about a giant squash they were ready to pick.

Showing some of their week’s harvest, destined to help needy families, is MCMG members Linda Goldser and Jack Lazareck.

“We’ve been watching a Trombincino squash, which is reaching a new record for our garden, 49 inches long, and weighs in at 2127 grams, or 4.78 pounds!” exclaimed their spokesperson, MCMG member Linda Goldser.

Unlike the garden-variety of zucchini that get woody and pulpy as they reach gigantic proportions, the Trombincino squash remains tender with a mild taste.

“This is truly a magnificent Trombincino squash,” MCMG member John Jordan says as he makes the official measurement.

MCMG John Jordan was given the honor of harvesting the long, delicate squash. “We learned about the Trombincino at a meeting several years ago where Chef Leather Storrs of the restaurant, Noble Rot, on lower East Burnside Street,” he informed.

Every week, since the summer harvest started on August 3, the MCMG group has grown and gathered, both from the Demo Garden and their gardener’s home gardens, and donated boxes of produce – 935 combined pounds of it, as of October 11 – with the fresh food going to Urban Gleaners on Mondays, and to Woodstock All Saints’ Episcopal Church Food Pantry on Thursdays.

“The harvest has included cucumber, summer squash, scallions, pole beans, peppers, basil, beets, radishes, blackberries, lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, and bush beans,” Goldser revealed. “Our top producers have been Silver Slicer cucumbers, Yellow Crookneck squash, winter squash, leeks, and scallions. plus of course. the Tromboncino squash. And, our blackberries continue to give us a few pounds of juicy goodness every harvest day, even into October,” she added.

Checking tomatoes for ripeness is MCMG member Kristi Davenport.

“We do this because, while part of our mission is to learn sustainable gardening skills and share them with the community, while maintaining an active garden to share with the public (in non-Covid times) and to produce fresh food to donate to those who need it,” Goldser told East Portland News. “And, we just love gardening,” she added.

Demo Garden now open to all volunteers
Their Demo Garden is finally open to any gardener who would like to come work with them,” Goldser said, adding, “We have made a lot of progress but there are many things that still need to be done to get our garden back to where we had to leave it in March and get it ready for winter.”

Please don’t just “show up”, first learn about the Multnomah County Master Gardeners at their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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