Meet the apple farmer helping hungry families this fall 

Apple farmer holding apples in field
October 11, 2019
by Olivia Thoelke

In the fall, our thoughts turn to golden leaves, giant pumpkins and one amazing fruit: apples. We all love biting into a crisp, refreshing apple in autumn. They're delicious, juicy and have a ton of health benefits. For example, apples have a high amount of antioxidants, which help keep us healthy and have been shown to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. They've also been shown to help keep our memories sharp. 

Yet, for the 1 in 9 Americans who don’t have enough to eat, access to the amazing health benefits apples provide isn't always an option. That’s where food banks and farmers like Rick Reisinger step up to help. 

Apples in apple tree

For more than two decades, Rick and Karen Reisinger have been growing apples on their 70-acre fields in New York State. And for more than 15 years, the Reisingers have been farm partners with Food Bank of the Southern Tier, a member of the Feeding America network. The family donates excess produce for food pantries, as well as provides apples and ciders for food bank events. The farm also has gleaning opportunities as a fun and seasonal way for volunteers to help fight food waste and hunger.

Last year alone, the Reisingers donated over 22,000 pounds of apples to help families in need. 

“We’ve enjoyed working with the Food Bank for these years. We know the need is there, and our farm is big enough that we can accommodate whatever is needed," Rick said.

He also knows how necessary it is for kids to have fresh fruits.

“We have 14 grandkids and seven great grandkids. We know it’s important to get good food to them, and apples are about as good as it gets,” he said.

That’s why the apples donated by the family are often distributed at Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s mobile pantries. There, people in need can take home bags of freshly picked apples for their families.

Man wearing navy hoody and picking apples from apple tree
Farmer Rick Reisinger examines his apple crop, some of which will be donated to a local food bank.

Apples are one of the most delicious and nutritious foods of the fall season. Our country grows enough food to feed everyone, yet so much is wasted, and millions still struggle with hunger. The Feeding America network of food banks and farm partners are working to rescue as much good food as possible, so that we can feed more families in need. 

From farm to food bank to table. Learn how we rescue food and provide it to Americans struggling with hunger.