Making the most of your spring and summer bounty

Making the most of your spring and summer bounty

Navigating the vibrant stalls of a farmers market, it’s easy to get carried away with the allure of fresh produce. But with a little planning and savvy storage, you can keep your haul of fruits, vegetables and herbs fresh for as long as possible. Here’s how to make the most of your farmers market haul. 

Leafy greens

Remove rubber bands from the greens, which damage plant cell walls and fastens spoilage. Pick out any discoloured and bruise leaves, wrap leafy greens in damp kitchen towels and store them in a breathable produce bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge for longer-term storage.  

If you’re planning on using them soon, give them a wash to remove dirt and dry them well in a salad spinner before arranging them between layers of kitchen towels in a box or produce bag.  


Keep tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight, preferably in a single layer on your kitchen counter. Avoid storing them in the fridge, as it can cause them to lose flavour and become mealy. 


To keep berries fresh, remove any damaged or moldy ones from the intact berries. Then store them unwashed in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray in the fridge. Wash them just before eating to prevent them from becoming mushy. 

However, if you still like to wash your berries before storing them, make sure you thoroughly dry them afterwards — spinning the berries in a salad spinner lined with towel paper works best.  

Root vegetables 

Store root vegetables like carrots and potatoes in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or cellar. Keep them in a breathable bag or container to prevent them from sprouting or rotting prematurely. 


Trim the stems of fresh herbs like basil and parsley and place them in a jar of water, just like fresh flowers. Cover them loosely with a plastic bag and store them in the fridge.

Citrus fruits 

Store citrus fruits like oranges and lemons at room temperature away from direct sunlight. If you’re not going to use them right away, you can prolong their freshness by storing them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. 


To ripen avocados faster, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple. Once ripe, store them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process and extend their shelf life. 


Wrap cucumbers in a dry paper towel and store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. This helps absorb excess moisture and keeps them crisp and fresh for longer. 


Store whole peppers in a produce bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. For sliced or diced peppers, place them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. 

Green beans (string beans) 

When possible, buy untrimmed beans, and only wash and trim them before eating. Remove any brown or damaged beans from the bunch and lay them flat on a paper towel-lined tray or up right in a tall container. 

Next time you visit the farmers market, remember these tips and savour the flavours of the season with confidence, knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the planet and your community. 

Learn more storage tips by playing our game, Still Good to Eat.  


Rosemarie Legault: “I like giving back to the community.”

Rosemarie Legault: “I like giving back to the community.”

Rosemarie Legault is stacking broccoli on a shelf, her head tilting to make sure the rows of vegetables stay straight and sturdy. Soon the Parkdale Food Pantry will open and someone will bring home that head of broccoli to turn it into a hearty stir-fry. She beams as she’s picturing it.  

Since 2012, Rosemarie has been a client and a volunteer at Parkdale Community Food Bank, a non-profit partner in Second Harvest’s network in the GTA. A health condition limits her ability to hold a steady full-time job, but it does not stop her from helping out as much as she can.  

“I like giving back to the community,” she said.  

Together with other volunteer leads, Rosemarie oversees a team of 200 members and growing. When she’s not at home with her husband and daughter, you can find her at the food bank, dashing in and out, making sure the food is properly stored and the warehouse clean and organized. Her infectious energy and crisp laugh keep the team in good spirits and the clients at ease.  

“Between home and the food bank, that’s been my life for the last 12 years,” she said.  

She treats the food bank like one of her own children, crying when reminiscing about its development over the years and the support it gets from donors.  

In 2016, Rosemarie received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General for her active involvement in the food bank’s operations after a former director stepped down — she did everything from managing client intake to moving inventory to handling administration matters. It’s one of her proudest and most memorable achievements.  

Second Harvest supports Parkdale Community Food Bank’s drop-in and delivery programs. When Rosemarie first started, she recalled serving about 200 individuals a day. This number now balloons to about 600, including seniors, students, and, more recently, those who need a little extra to tide them over before the next paycheck. 

“It’s insane. Food almost goes out as soon as it comes in,” she said. “Food banks are only supposed to be an emergency thing. And now they’re like a normal grocery store.” 

In response to the need, the team extends the food bank’s operation hours, but occasionally has to close early when food runs out. Protein-rich ingredients like milk, eggs and yogurt are in high demand, and fresh produce Second Harvest provides like broccoli, cabbage and strawberries are always cherished.  

Rosemarie strives to keep the food bank stocked with options to accommodate different dietary restrictions. Since donations vary daily and weekly, this can be a planning and creative challenge, which she readily accepts. What drives her every day is “seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they can come here and get healthy stuff that they can’t afford anywhere else.”  

As the food bank opens for the day and its clients start trickling in, Rosemarie stands back and observes if anyone needs help. In a few hours when her shift ends, she’ll pick up some cabbage to make a soup with potatoes and carrots for her family, and probably share it with some seniors in her building too.  

“I love what I do,” she said. 

Legacy giving: What it is and how to get involved

Legacy giving: What it is and how to get involved

Legacy giving, also known as planned giving, is a philanthropic act in which individuals include a charitable organization in their estate plans. This thoughtful and impactful approach to giving ensures that one’s values and support for important causes continue even after their lifetime. Through legacy giving, donors have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on causes they care about, while also potentially receiving financial benefits such as tax advantages. 

What is legacy giving? 

Legacy giving is a way to support charitable organizations by leaving a gift in your will or estate plan. These gifts can come in various forms: 

  • Bequests: Donors can leave a specific amount of money, a percentage of their estate, or a particular asset (such as real estate or securities) to an organization in their will. 
  • Beneficiary designations: Individuals can name a charitable organization as a beneficiary of their retirement accounts, life insurance policies or other assets. 
  • Charitable trusts: Trusts allow donors to make a gift to charity while still receiving income from the trust during their lifetime. 
  • Charitable gift annuities: This arrangement allows donors to provide a gift to an organization in exchange for a fixed income for life. 

Benefits of legacy giving 

  • Lasting impact: Legacy gifts enable donors to leave a lasting legacy that can benefit future generations and continue their support for a cause they believe in. 
  • Tax advantages: Depending on the type of gift and the donor’s financial situation, there may be potential tax benefits such as estate tax deductions. 
  • Flexibility: Donors have the flexibility to choose the type of gift that best aligns with their financial and estate planning goals. 
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that their estate will contribute to a cause they care about can provide donors with peace of mind and a sense of fulfillment. 

Resources and tips for getting involved in legacy giving 

  • Identify causes you care about: Reflect on the causes that matter most to you and consider how your legacy gift can support these organizations. 
  • Consult with professionals: It’s essential to consult with financial advisors, estate planning attorneys and tax professionals to ensure your legacy gift aligns with your overall estate plan and financial goals. 
  • Discuss with loved ones: Share your plans with your family and loved ones to ensure they understand your intentions and the impact of your gift. 
  • Reach out to charitable organizations: Contact the organizations you wish to support to learn about their legacy giving programs and how your gift can make a difference. 
  • Review and update your plans: As your life circumstances change, periodically review and update your legacy giving plans to ensure they continue to reflect your wishes. 

Legacy giving is a meaningful way to support causes close to your heart and leave a lasting impact on the world. By understanding the options and benefits available, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your values and goals.  

This information is general in nature, does not constitute legal or financial advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal, estate planning and/or financial advice before deciding on your course of action. 

For more information on making a legacy donation, please contact our Senior Manager of Philanthropy, Natasha Bowes, or 647-612-6597. 

Spring cleaning that keeps your kitchen fresh and food waste-free

Spring cleaning that keeps your kitchen fresh and food waste-free

A clean kitchen isn’t just about aesthetics — it’s a key player in keeping your food fresh longer and minimizing food waste. With a few simple cleaning hacks, you can transform your kitchen into a tidy, organized oasis that preserves your groceries and helps reduce food waste. 

Declutter, group and label 

Start your pantry cleaning journey by decluttering. Remove everything from your pantry shelves and carefully inspect each item for signs of spoilage or expiration. 

Transfer opened packages of flour, sugar, rice and nuts from their original packaging into airtight containers to protect them from moisture, pests and staleness. Clear containers are ideal as they allow you to see the contents at a glance and monitor their freshness. Be sure to label each container with the item and expiration date for easy reference. 

Consider using a rotating system to ensure older items are used before newer ones to minimize waste. 

Optimize vertical space 

Install adjustable shelves or use stackable bins to take advantage of vertical space and maximize storage capacity. Consider a door organizer or hanging baskets to store smaller items such as spices, condiments and snacks. By utilizing vertical space, you can keep your pantry organized and easily accessible, reducing the likelihood of items getting lost or forgotten. 

Deep cleaning your fridge 

Empty out the contents of your fridge and remove all shelves, drawers and door bins. Wash them with warm, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry. Wipe down the interior surfaces of your fridge with a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar to remove stains, spills and odours. Once everything is sparkling clean, reassemble your fridge.  

Freshening agents

Say goodbye to funky fridge odours by placing an open box of baking soda on one of the shelves. Baking soda acts as a natural odour absorber, neutralizing unpleasant smells and keeping your fridge smelling fresh. 

Alternatively, place a small bowl of activated charcoal or coffee grounds in your fridge. You can also use citrus peels or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract to add a pleasant fragrance to your fridge. Replace these freshening agents every few weeks to maintain their effectiveness. 

Organize your fridge wisely 

Keep perishable items, such as meats and dairy products, on the lower shelves where temperatures are coldest. Store fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawer, using separate compartments for each to prevent them from ripening too quickly.  

Consider investing in reusable storage containers to keep leftovers and prepped ingredients organized and visible, reducing the likelihood of them getting forgotten and going to waste. 

It’s time to roll up your sleeves, grab your cleaning supplies and give your kitchen the TLC it deserves! Your taste buds and the planet will thank you.  

Drive Away Hunger makes nutrition accessible for remote communities

Drive Away Hunger makes nutrition accessible for remote communities

In Bay St George South on the west coast of Newfoundland, The Three Rivers Mi’kmaq Band Inc., a non-profit Indigenous service provider, has been diligently working to support its 1,100 residents. Located approximately 75 km from the nearest service town and 120 km from the nearest city, this community’s isolation makes access to essential resources, including food, a significant challenge. 

This organization and many others like it play an important role in bridging the gap between healthy food and people living in remote communities. With the help of volunteers and in collaboration with Second Harvest, they deliver non-perishable groceries and frozen food to anyone who needs it.  

“The most beautiful aspect of the food distribution is seeing the community come together. Individuals who receive food share that food,” Chief Margaret White of The Three Rivers Mi’kmaq Band, said. “Our community makes sure every member has food over several months.” 

Food insecurity in remote communities is a complex challenge that requires collaboration among many stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profits and Indigenous groups. As a charitable partner of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), Second Harvest is grateful for their $500,000 donation through the Drive Away Hunger initiative which aims to make nutrition more accessible in rural and remote areas.  

For two decades, Drive Away Hunger has connected donors in the agriculture and food industry with charitable food security agencies in hopes of creating long-term, sustainable relationships. Marking its 20th anniversary in 2023, FCC matched $1 million in new donations to provide over 140 million meals to those in need. 

“This year’s remarkable total is a testament to the considerable hard work and support provided by exceptional partners across Canada,” Justine Hendricks, FCC president and CEO, said. “More than ever, we are seeing producers, processors, distributors and grocers addressing food waste and helping feed Canadians in need. The Canadian food system has come together through Drive Away Hunger and the results this year prove we are stronger together.” 

A big thank you to FCC and all of the agriculture and food companies who participated in Drive Away Hunger for your generous support and commitment to fighting food waste and hunger with us. We look forward to reaching more communities across Canada to ensure everyone has access to the essential nutrition they need.