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New Food for Lane County food dehydrator will make the most of fruit harvests

The new Food for Lane County dehydrator will help preserve fruit while keeping its nutrients. The food bank plans to make things like fruit leathers. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - When you're trying to feed the hungry, providing fresh produce is ideal. But fruits and vegetables perish quickly, so Food for Lane County found a solution - they are diving into the realm of food dehydration.

"So this is one way for us to preserve our food and keep it healthy and have all the nutrients remain in it," said Food for Lane County Executive Director Beverlee Potter.

For years, the nonprofit has made apple sauce from the bounty of the harvest.

"So our new idea is to do fruit roll-ups or fruit leathers with the produce we have in surplus."

The Food Bank is excited to use its apple trees in Junction City.

"So we're hopeful that next year we'll be picking our own apples and bring them over here and dehydrate the apples," Potter said.

The new dehydrator lives at Sprout's commercial kitchen in Springfield. It will be available for other companies and after-school programs.

"And also our farmers are going to have access to preserve their food," said Sprout Business Director Lisa Hartwick.

The benefits not only help feed hungry children, but also help the economic development of Lane County.

"Just, you know, ease of production, saving on costs their food, costs for businesses so there is a wide variety."

The food dehydrator will be available for use in August. Food for Lane County received a $20,000 grant to purchase the food dehydrator. The grant came from the Specialty Food Foundation.

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