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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Help! I’m drowning in zucchini

July 27, 2009

Neighbors at Marin Open Garden Exchange

Neighbors at Marin Open Garden Exchange

Fruits and veggies rock. Especially this time of year. Even if peppers, tomatoes, blackberries, corn and the other delights of summer didn’t taste so incredible, they’d earn top grades for being outright gorgeous. That’s why not only do I eagerly eat my 5+ servings a day, I also photograph and draw produce, just for the fun of it. And of course, I grow stuff too.

But there are times in the life of the most enthusiastic gardener when exultation ripens into contempt. As in the sight of yet another 10 inch zucchini where yesterday no zucchini grew. Or when your entire family pledges to eat 4 tomatoes a day and still there’s no discernible dent in the red mountain that continues growing on your kitchen counter. And when out of necessity you start experimenting with banana-pesto smoothies to deal with the basil that’s taking over the back deck, well, something’s gotta give.

Enter a simply yet brilliant idea: Gardeners bring their surplus every week to a central location and swap with neighbors for stuff they’re not growing at home.

The result? Expand your friendships, expand your gardening knowledge by learning the secrets of the master gardeners among us, take home (different) yummy fruits and veggies, and make others happy with the stuff you’re so eager to unload. Which of course, restores the self-esteem of the zucchini you just dumped. Wow… win-win-win!

And it’s all FREE!

Here in San Anselmo, CA our Sustainable San Anselmo group began partnering with the  Marin Open Garden Exchange 4 weeks ago. This week’s bounty included mission figs, purple carrots, eggs, lavender, lemons, pears, onions, zucchini, basil. It happens every Saturday, 9-10 AM in Creek Park.

If you’re a gardener outside of Marin, consider organizing with your neighbors to create your own Open Garden Project. If gardening isn’t your thing but you know someone who loves it… Please share this to them! This is an idea with legs… and roots!




Figs (this variety is ripe when still green)

Basil, rosemary, apples

Crazy cucumber

Pears, tomatoes

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 3:44 pm


  1. Beautiful photos, Annie! And how was the banana pesto smoothie? 🙂

    Comment by Sarah — July 28, 2009 @ 6:31 am

  2. UNDRINKABLE!! (Surprise!)

    Comment by Annie — August 5, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  3. Such lovely photos. I hope this idea really takes off with gardeners everywhere. It’s so simple and brilliant!

    Comment by Fayette — August 6, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  4. Wonderful idea! And lovely photos of your bounty!

    Comment by Michele — August 30, 2009 @ 7:02 pm

  5. Those carrots totally want to be in my stir-fry! Great shots!

    Comment by Stephanie Brown — August 31, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  6. Hi Michele. Yep it’s a very cool idea and a no-brainer, especially this time of year. Thanks for your kind words about my photos. I LOVE taking pix of fruits and veggies. They’re willing to smile and look beautiful for you for hours without moving!

    Comment by Annie — August 31, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  7. Stephanie… those carrots, especially the purple ones were so delicious I couldn’t wait to eat them, so they never made it into a stir-fry. These were from my neighbor who also grows lemon grass, citronella, Asian pears and artichokes.

    Comment by Annie — August 31, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  8. Hi Annie… Bravo! Sharing produce is a great way to go. Also, when I was drowning in homegrown zucchini last Tasmanian summer, I turned up an excellent recipe for a ‘new’ zucchini soup: bulk zucchini, small onion, basil, and lemon! Yum even day after day 🙂

    Comment by Melinda — August 5, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

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