If you live in a rural community make a point to get to know the neighbors, especially the ones with farms. The fruits and vegetables that would be rejected by the grocery stores because of an imperfection in size or shape are fed to the animals or simply rot in the fields.

I have offered to pay several times because it is much cheaper to buy direct than from the store but they always refuse. Just asking can net you more free food than you can handle. This year we had free watermelon all summer, I canned 66 quarts of free certified organic heirloom tomatoes, and we are now working our way through pumpkins.

Since the neighbors will take no money, I always plant extra herbs to share and help out around the farm a little when I'm visiting. I felt REALLY guilty about the tomatoes. I am going to talk to Edna's sister-in-law about a suitable gift to surprise her with.