Oneida County’s Garden Harvest to Benefit Nutrition Program

Free Vegetables Offered for August’s ‘Tasteful Tuesdays’

Oneida County is harvesting an abundance of fresh produce from garden boxes planted earlier this spring, and will be offering free vegetables to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) eligible residents during “Tasteful Tuesdays” this August.

Three planter boxes located on the southwest side of the County Office Building in Utica were maintained since spring by volunteers in the Oneida County Employee Wellness Program. They are now yielding an abundant crop of vegetables including kale, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, beans, peas, arugula, radishes and tomatoes.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide these fresh, delicious and healthy options for residents,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “We are thankful to our staff volunteers who continue to care for these beautiful gardens and allow for everyone to share in the experience of enjoying nutritious, freshly-grown foods.”

In cooperation with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and its Eat Smart NY program, Oneida County will offer free and fresh produce to SNAP participants each Tuesday in August from 11 a.m. to noon in the main lobby of the County Office Building.

In addition to the weekly produce distribution, two special events will be featured highlighting food nutrition and education.

August 19-23, a story walk will be set up in the area of the garden planters, allowing children and families to read and stroll through the pages of a vegetable eating adventure story entitled: “I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato” by Lauren Child. To locate the story walk, residents should look for the colorful signs near the Charlotte Street entrance of the building.

“Reading a story about vegetables and nutrition, while you are walking through a vegetable garden is a great real-life connection,” said Oneida County Director of Health Phyllis D. Ellis, BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E. “To establish good health, it is so important to learn about the building blocks starting at a young age”

On August 27 at 11 a.m., Eat Smart NY will hold a free food demonstration and tasting in the first floor Recertification Room of the County Building. The demonstration will include recipe options for vegetables and other healthy food choices.

The Tasteful Tuesday produce distribution will begin August 6 and will continue each Tuesday through August 27.