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For the love of veggies

Roger Gilbertson's 12 zucchini plants don't produce quite enough to feed the world, but they do feed a large population in Federal Way.

Last Monday, Gilbertson, 76, delivered 40 pounds of zucchini to the Federal Way Food Bank, operated by the Multi-Service Center. He has delivered more than 100 pounds of various vegetables so far this year.

"The old saying is one zucchini for you and your neighbor, two zucchinis for the whole block and three zucchinis will feed the world," Gilbertson said.

And there are more vegetables to come. In his garden this year, Gilbertson grows potatoes, shallots, bush beans, pull beans, radishes, kale, broccoli and tomatoes.

His donations, along with those of other Federal Way folks, help fill a huge need for fresh produce at the food bank, said supervisor Denise Burns.

"People with limited funds don't get enough produce," Burns said.

"If they have limited dollars, they're going to try to stretch them as far as possible, and sometimes produce is a little more expensive," she said. "It might be the last thing they are able to purchase."

The food bank takes all kinds of homegrown produce including apples, plums, tomatoes, fresh flowers and sometimes the even unidentifiable.

Someone recently brought in a mysterious vegetable, Burns said.

"Huge, ugly-looking winter squash, I don't know what they were and people took them. It was great," Burns said. "We take all kinds."

Burns said there is a large demand for fresh produce at the food bank and clients quickly clear out the inventory.

"If people have extra garden produce, I think it's a great way to help the community by donating it to the food bank," she said. "Even just a couple or a couple a week is going to help."

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Hot recipe

Roger Gilbertson, who's prolific zucchini plants keep friends, family and the food bank well stocked, shares his favorite zucchini recipe, supplied by his friend MaryAnn Allmann, of Federal Way.

Zucchini Lasagna:

3 cups tomato sauce (8 oz. cans)

1 2/3 cup stewed tomatoes (14 1/2 oz. cans)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground beef

3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

5 to 6 zucchini squash

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups ricotta cheese (1 pint)

3 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Combine tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, salt, sugar, Italian seasoning and pepper in saucepan.

Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Brown ground beef in skillet, Drain off fat.

Stir in seasoned salt and tomato sauce mixture.

Butter bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

Slice zucchini lengthwise in 1/8 inch thick slices.

Layer bottom of dish with half the zucchini slices and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Spread half the ground beef mixture over zucchini.

Sprinkle with all the mozzarella cheese and evenly spread all the ricotta cheese.

Top with remaining zucchini slices and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Spread remaining half of ground beef mixture over zucchini.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

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