August 5, 2009

Apples for the City

With a new month comes a change in produce for our food pantry (which is good, since we want to have variety for our clients). In July, we stocked BFC with over 7,000 lbs. of fresh corn. This month we will glean apples.

Apples are perfect gleaning crops because they’re nutritious, readily edible, and they have a long shelf life. Saturday, I organized our first trip to Crooked Run Orchard, a beautiful, “pick your own” orchard with acres of apples, berries and other fruits. I was accompanied by an eager group of volunteers from our friends at WilmerHale.

With a record turnout of volunteers, we gleaned over 1,000 lbs. of apples in just over an hour. We even had young children picking an apple here and there, and some of the older kids were our best volunteers.

While we picked apples, we discussed the impact gleaning is having at Bread for the City. With our new found surplus of fresh produce, the pantry has been able to remove unhealthy canned alternatives.

Volunteers were shocked by the quantity after we stuffed the van with thousands of apples. One volunteer remarked that, “It’s amazing that more organizations don’t glean.” A few of our volunteers from Saturday have already signed up for another event with Glean for the City.

A day later, I took my usual trip to the West End Market, where the quantity of our yield has increased steadily in the last month. In my first two trips combined I collected 1,000 lbs. of produce; this Sunday I brought back over 1,100 lbs. We had a delicious variety including corn, eggplants and even nectarines. The fridge in the pantry was stuffed so full that I needed to wedge bins of corn against the door to keep it sealed.

We have received thousands of pounds of produce from West End Market, and they have been very accommodating in the process. As it happens, we now have an opportunity to repay the favor. Care2 is running an online voting contest for the country’s Best Farmers Market. Please go there to vote for West End Farmers Market, Alexandria, VA today!

1 comment:

Susan said...

Julie and I, the market managers for the West End Farmers Market, were thrilled when Bread for the City agreed to come and glean at our market. One of the great things about running a market with someone else is we get to bat around ideas and concerns with one another. Just when we both had the same idea for finding an agency to glean at the market, and discussed the possibility with one another, but not found a likely agency, I saw a blurb about Bread for the City on the farmers market listserve. We contacted them and two wonderful people, Jeffrey Wankel and Heather showed up the next Sunday, and every Sunday since then, to pick up fresh vegetables, fruits and breads. Our vendors are thrilled to contribute and several deliberately bring extras.

We want to thank Jeffrey and Heather for giving up their summer Sundays to give us a hand and for spreading the word about voting for us in the "Best Farmers Market Competition" We really appreciate their work and the work of Bread for the City. I hope everyone enjoys the meals they prepare with the fresh vegies, fruits and breads.

If you are looking for some quick and easy fresh food recipes, and I truly mean quick and easy because I am a lazy cook, I have posted recipes on the West End Farmers Market blog-site: www.culinate.com/market/WestEndFarmersmarketVa

I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as I have. Most of them were given to me by my friends. Thanks Again. Susan Birchler