Volunteers help Tully farm pick vegetables for local food pantries

The number of pea plants at Matthew 25 Farm greatly outnumber the hands picking them. Volunteers have been working tirelessly to pick all the vegetables before its too late.

"We have worked so hard to get ready to produce this food and the last thing we want to do is disappoint the food pantries and people they are helping," said Rick Rarick, farm manager.

Matthew 25 Farm is a small not-for-profit farm in Tully that grows fruits and vegetables to donate to local food pantries in Onondaga County. While shelters receive canned goods and dry supplies regularly, the amount of fresh produce available is limited. The Matthew 25 Farm donates thousands of pounds of food each summer and fall. People of all ages have been arriving to help with farm work.

"A couple people from our church yesterday, they came up and picked 55 pounds of peas and we're going to bring it back to our pantry and we're going to share it with Assumption," said Elizabeth Renno, a recent Liverpool High School graduate.

The farm is facing new issues this summer. Plenty of spring rain and hot weather have produced an abundance of crops, but this has drastically increased the number of harvesters needed for the small farm to function. Rarick said its too much work for him and his co-worker to do alone.

With this years crop promising to be one of the biggest in recent years, Rarick needs more help in picking the pea plants and other vegetable patches. Without more volunteers, much of the food will go to waste out in the field. Especially the pea plants, which have a short 2-week period when farmers can cultivate them. After that, the peas start to turn yellow and seed, effectively ruling them inedible and unusable for food pantries.

The Matthew 25 Farm has reached out to the community for help and people from all over Syracuse have offered their time, and their hands.

"I really don't like food going to waste, I would rather have it go to people who need it, I figured -- it's time to get out here," said Nick Calaprico.

The farm doesn't limit itself to just peas. They will be needing help in the coming weeks with their crops of onions, cabbage, and potatoes. Within the next few months, they will need help with cultivating watermelon and pumpkins in their second location in Cardiff, just across from the Apple Festival grounds. Last years watermelon patch produced watermelons up to 30 pounds in size.

If you want to help, visit their website for volunteering hours, or check out their Facebook page for more details.