From toy drives to food drives, it's not uncommon to hear stories of generosity during the holidays.
But one farmer is putting a new spin on holiday giving, it all has to do with turnips. Darin Greear owns Windy Hills Farm in the Montgomery County town of Riner. Each year, volunteers gather to glean turnips. It's an annual tradition that has taken place for the past four years.
Four years ago, there were just too many turnips to handle--so the farmer called a food bank. . “It's just something that we can do and the way I see it if you can help somebody, and you can do it and you choose not to, them shame on you,” said Greear.
The Society of St. Andrew, a gleaning network, brings volunteers to Windy Hills Farm every Thanksgiving to glean turnips for the needy.
“Young people have said I have never had a turnip but I'd like to try one so they've been able to open their eyes to something that's new- something that's different,” said Gleaning Network Director Sarah Ramey.
Turnip season runs from October through the second week of December typically. This Thanksgiving, volunteers picked a few thousand turnips during a time they could have chosen to be with family.
Now, other families will have a healthy alternative to packaged foods and foods high in salt and fat.
Volunteers spent three hours Thursday gleaning the turnips. The vegetables were later picked up by the Southwest Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank. If you're wondering how one would prepare turnips--think potatoes because you can cook them in similar ways: baked, fried, au gratin. You can also make turnip fries, turnip slaw and turnip sandwiches.