Recipient Agency FAQ's & General Info
Produce Ordering: How does my agency choose which produce items we receive?
- Before each scheduled distribution (delivery or pickup), we will send you a Produce Availability List via email.
- This list will include all items that we have in our inventory at that time as well as items that we are expecting to glean before your distribution but that we do not currently have on-hand.
- Because we react quickly to available surplus crop donations, and occasionally farmers can change what they donate to us last minute, our predictions of what we will receive are not always correct. We always send a follow-up availability list with any changes.
- We will sometimes indicate a maximum number of cases available to order. If no maximum is listed, this means that we have a steady supply of that item, and we are not worried about running out (i.e. order as much as you’d like!).
- To place an order, reply to the availability list email and indicate the number of cases (boxes) that you would like to order for each item.
- Item availability and variety changes from week to week, as does variety. We try to maintain an inventory of at least 5 different crops to donate at all times, but our availability depends on the generous donations of our partner farmers. Some years certain crops do better than others, and farmers always have to make decisions between selling or donating surplus crops.
- Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions about a specific produce item! We are happy to share produce preparation and storage tips, as well as comparisons to similar crops. Our goal is to glean and donate as much surplus local produce as we can, and we rely on our recipient agencies to try new items and “sell” unfamiliar crops to their recipients, even if they aren’t familiar with them.
- Our regular service period typically lasts from early July through early December; during this time, we structure the availability lists so that all of our regularly scheduled distributions get their fair share of produce quantity and variety. We may contact you with availability outside of our regular season, in which case the produce is first-come, first-serve, as we are unable to hold a steady inventory during these times of year when local produce is not in season.
- Order cancellations and alterations must take place no later than 24 hours before your scheduled distribution.
Billing: How, how often, and why does my agency pay service fees?
- We bill for our service fees on a monthly basis. We will invoice you via email at the beginning of the month for the prior month’s fees.
- Please be sure to provide us with the correct billing contact at your agency.
- Our fees are implemented to cover some of our costs of the transportation and storage of the produce we glean and donate to hunger relief agencies, and are calculated per case distributed ($5 per case for deliveries and $2.50 per case for pickups). For more information, please refer to our Recipient Agency Application.
Banana Boxes: What are they good for? Can my agency return them to The Gleaners?
Pickups: How does my agency receive produce if we are picking up at BAG's facilities?
- Our facilities are located at 240 Beaver St. in Waltham, MA. You will see signs for University of Massachusetts Waltham and Waltham Fields Community Farms at the front of the building.
- Google Maps/GPS will often take you to another building on the property - our cold storage space and loading area are located behind the brick building.
- Our coolers are retrofitted shipping containers, located on the other side of the tall brick chimney and next to the dumpster.
- PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY on the property, as there is an active farm and children's programming as part of the Learning Garden at Waltham Fields Community Farm, in addition to many other non-profit organizations that are based in the building.
- When you arrive, you can pull up to our coolers and ring the doorbell, if our staff is not clearly outside to help you. If that doesn't work, you can call our office at 781-894-3212 ext. 103.
Distributing Produce: Sometimes the clients at my agency do not recognize or know how to cook certain produce items. How can my organization encourage clients to take produce they are unfamiliar with?
- Providing access to quick and easy recipes can help food recipients feel more comfortable cooking and eating produce items they are unfamiliar with. Handing out physical copies of recipes or having knowledgeable volunteers verbally explain how different vegetables can be eaten can help clients make best use of the produce they receive. We have some helpful recipes and nutritional information handy, as well as knowledge about all of the produce that we glean - let us know if we can help!
- Jane McInich, co-coordinator at the Burlington Food Pantry, explains how their pantry addresses this problem:
“When we first started to get a lot of local produce we were struggling with getting clients to take it, but we started having a volunteer stand by the produce to tell people what things are. If it is produce that they are unfamiliar with, they help them identify what it might be similar to and provide them with hints and tips for how to prepare the food. This program has had a tremendous impact on the amount of fresh produce clients will take and they are eager to come back to let the volunteer know what they made and how good it was. In the early days of the program it was the same volunteer every day and the clients really bonded with her and shared stories about how they used the produce and trusted the volunteer’s advice on new things.” [edited for clarity and emphasis added by BAG]
For general FAQs about Boston Area Gleaners and to learn more about how we source produce donations from local farmers, please visit our About Us & FAQs webpage.