In October 2018, when Greg Voss arrived at Autumn Hills Orchard in Groton for his very first glean, it was hard to tell that he was new to Boston Area Gleaners. Greg learned about BAG through friend and long-time gleaner Sally Thompson—and like Sally, Greg exuded an aura of enthusiasm and preparedness, dressed for success in his practical Carhartt gear and clearly game for anything. Before long he was on a ladder in an apple tree, harvesting like a professional. But we knew for certain that Greg was a true blue gleaner when he returned the very next day to keep picking apples: he just couldn’t get enough of it.
One year later, Greg has volunteered an impressive 21 times, each time bringing his trademark grin and team spirit to the fields. He’s a proud grandfather, skilled woodworker, and passionate home gardener, yet he still finds the time to give back to his community by getting out the vote and volunteering with his co-op. Quite often Greg arrives at a glean on his trusty old bicycle, having enjoyed a bracing ride from his home in Acton to the farm location of the day. Needless to say, his energy motivates everyone around him!
What inspired Greg to come glean with us so many times in the past year? “The people at BAG, the volunteers and staff. It’s great fun even when you’re working hard. It’s so rewarding!” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the beautiful view from Autumn Hills Orchard is best enjoyed from the top of an apple ladder. But Greg even likes the messier, muddier, colder gleaning trips: he makes a point of mentioning how much he enjoys “pulling carrots from the semi-frozen ground.” Many gleaners would break with him on that controversial subject. Yet most would agree that it’s much more fun to glean when Greg is around, thanks to his infectious laugh, generous spirit, and zeal for learning something new at every glean. We’re lucky to have him—and lucky to have our whole “gleaner family” of devoted volunteers who make our work possible.
By Leah Costlow
Boston Area Gleaners
91 Martin Street
Acton, MA 01720