September is an exciting time of year for gleaning. It is probably one of the most varied months in terms of what is available for gleaning. One day we might be gleaning some surplus greens, the next we are in a 5-acre cornfield following behind the farm workers and picking the plantings of corn they skip over. Then we’ll get a call to come and pick over 30 apple trees, which, especially in a bumper crop year such as this, can often lead to 100+ bushels of apples gleaned in 1 day. But we are also still gleaning plenty of summer crops at this time of year, such as cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. What an incredible bounty!
This variety is in large part due to the variety of farms that we work with. In 2015, we have kindled over 20 new relationships with farmers in Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties. So far this season, many of these new partner farms have reached out to us to donate their surplus, including: Clearview Farm in Sterling, Medway Community Farm, Powissett Farm in Dover, Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham, Silverwood Organic Farm in Sherborn, Brooksby Farm in Peabody, and Russell Orchards in Ipswich.
New farm relationships, increased capacity, and incredible efforts by volunteers, farmers, and staff to rescue leftover farm crops has lead us to already have gleaned and donated over 100,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit. Here’s hoping to even more in the coming months!
To the Harvest!
Matt Crawford, Lead Gleaning Coordinator