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Rome farm donating 15 tons of fresh produce

By NICOLE PITT

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - Wagner Farms in Rome is making an enormous donation of 28,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Food Bank of Central New York.

"The donation this year is roughly 20,000 pounds of winter squash, 1500-2000 pounds of potatoes, 3000 pounds of cabbage and 1500 pounds of our own popcorn," said Ron Wagner, owner of Wagner Farms. "They're excited they've already made plans of who is going to get what and where's its going."

Ron's mother Judy and his nephew Dalton are helping dig up the potatoes. There are also a couple part-time employees on staff that will be helping out over the next few days.

"I feel it's important to donate back to the community. They support us during the growing season. By them supporting us we can support them when it comes time for them to need it," said Ron Wagner.

All of the produce has to be picked, sorted and washed before a truck arrives to pick it all up on Wednesday. Ron Wagner estimates a total of 150 additional manhours remain before the job is finished.

The Wagner's had a large sale fall through, leaving them with tons of fresh produce and no buyer. "I hate to see them go to waste because it's a good crop this year so we're trying to get them picked, get them washed and get them donated," said Judy Wagner.

The family has donated in the past, but never this much. This will be one of the biggest donations the Food Bank of Central New York will receive this year. "Their average is 10,000 pounds maybe," said Ron Wagner.

The crops are better this year. "Last year it was raining all fall and we were swimming out here the potatoes swam all season," said Judy.

The Wagner's will also be donating a couple thousand pounds of produce to the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency and a Church Pantry in Vernon, bringing the grand total of this year's donation-- to 30,000 pounds.

The food bank is using grant money to send a truck to the farm on Wednesday to collect the donation.

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