Produce supply concerns food bank

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley families in need have especially enjoyed the fresh produce available through the Community Food Bank. But both the drought and the recent west coast port shutdown have impacted donations.

Work has resumed at backed up ports after a labor dispute but some Valley-grown oranges and pistachios never made it overseas and ended up at food banks around the state.

California Association of Food Banks executive director Sue Sigler said, "When that happens and people can't move their produce that's actually to our benefit because we are there to remove any excess from the system that folks can't handle."

Along with all the bread and canned goods, Fresno's Community Food Bank also expected to collect 16 and a half million pounds of fresh produce this year under the Farm to Family program. But CEO Andy Souza worried a fourth year of drought could severely impact the generous donations made by Valley farmers.

Souza said, "What we're all uncertain about is if we don't see that rain and that surface water being available and the new groundwater regulations we're concerned that it's really going to start having that impact."

The food bank recently took in shipments of citrus and potatoes.

Sigler said, "It is definitely orange season but we can maintain a steady supply of some of the staples that people like to have in their kitchen as well like cabbage and potatoes and onion and apples."

Souza wanted local growers to know that once crops are in season the food bank can handle as much as seven truckloads of produce a day.

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