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'Fill Your Pantry' event sees 65% more orders than last year

(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Winter is coming and that means farmers markets--where you get homegrown food--are closing for the year. But one Lane County organization is helping you stock up before and during the cold season.

Outside of the Lane events Center, people are waiting for their pre-ordered locally grown food for the 7th annual Fill Your Pantry event, from fresh produce to locally-sourced meat.

"Many more people buying and many people buying more product," says organizer Karen Dunne with Willamette Farm & Food Coalition. "For the pre-ordered portion, we have 317 households picking up $55,000 worth of food (on Sunday)."

Dunne says that’s 65 percent more orders than the previous year. "People really value local food here. Because of our connection to our community, connection to our farmers, we know who's growing our food."

And that is why volunteers are filling customers’ car trunks with boxes of food before they fill their pantries.

"Many of these items we are selling today can be stored in your household - in a cold storage space, in the refrigerator or the freezer - and allows people to eat local all winter even when our farmers markets aren’t open," Dunne says, adding the event also helps farmers, "Because to store the product on their farms is expensive for them, so they are able to grow as much as they can and our role is to sell it at the end of the season."

Hundreds of people came by on Sunday morning, packed up their cars and drove away to fill their pantries for the winter.

Dunne says during the spring time. they'll release a guide to show people all the farms in Lane County that are selling food.

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