PA Agriculture Spotlight: Nell Produce

Jackie and Wes Nell, produce farmers in Lebanon County, began selling product to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank a few years ago when the food bank was looking for a vendor to regularly provide onions for distribution. “We started growing onions and [the food bank] became a regular customer, including taking our #2 quality products. This prevented food waste and allowed our business to remain profitable,” said Jackie.

Erica Mowrer, Central PA Food Bank’s Agricultural Acquisition Manager, reflected on her experience working with Jackie and Wes, “Central Pennsylvania Food Bank wants to be part of the risk management plan for farms across our 27-county region. Being able to reimburse farms using PASS Program funds for costs incurred on product that might otherwise not have a market is a win-win-win for the farm, the food bank, and our neighbors in need.”

As the Nells continued to partner with the food bank, they collaborated with colleagues in their area to help fulfill the demand for fresh onions. Jackie mentioned, “In addition to our own produce, we’ve also helped neighboring farms bag their #2 onions on our bagging machine, making it easier to sell and ship to the food bank.” Jackie continued, “It’s been great knowing our products and our work with Central PA Food Bank helps feed others in our community and surrounding areas in the region. We value the opportunity to help provide nutritious vegetables to those in need. The PASS program has greatly helped our business, and we continue to talk-up the program to other local producers.” Over the past few years, the relationship between the Nell family and the Central PA Food Bank has continued to grow, allowing the farmers to continue to grow their agri-business. The Nells look forward to continuing their participation in the PA Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) which has aided them in selling product, reducing possible food waste, providing local produce to Pennsylvanians facing hunger, and strengthening their business partnerships between other growers and the Central PA Food Bank.