Summer Week #13 – Wednesday, August 29th – Everyother Group A
Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.
Each year there is a crop that produces way more than we can sell or pass along to you. Any guesses what that crop is this year? Yep, eggplant. Never have we had such productive eggplant, nor have we given so much eggplant to our CSA members. You are probably really sick of it! Believe or not, however, you have only received a small fraction of what the plants have produced! The pigs have eaten LOTS of eggplant, and a few weeks ago we simply abandoned several beds of eggplant. There was no point in spending the labor hours to harvest it without a market in which to sell it.
That’s why we were delighted when Dan Johnson stopped by our farm last week and asked if we had any vegetables that his group, the Geezer Gleaners, could come and harvest. The Geezer Gleaners is a group of retirees from CALS, UW-Extension, and other organizations who collect and/or harvest produce and get it to area pantries. They harvest from area farms as well as from the UW research stations, who typically grow food for research purposes.
These geezers certainly aren’t geezers. This morning they are out in the sun, bent over clipping eggplant and hoisting bins of it up onto a truck destined for the Community Action Coalition. Their group really offers something special to our community. Most pantries are happy to take food from us that we have spent the labor hours harvesting. But to have a group that recognizes that the labor of harvesting is often what prevents excess food in the fields from reaching the pantries is a great thing. We are so happy that this eggplant will find bellies! Check out how much they gleaned!
If you want to learn more about the Geezer Gleaners, check out this article: “Retired Ag Scientists Glean UW Crops for Food Pantries.” They are always looking for fellow geezers as well as contacts for farms that may have excess food!
The history of gleaning is also really fascinating. A French documentary , entitled the Gleaners and I, produced in 2000, explores the Eurpoean history of gleaning. Directed by Agnes Varda, it won several awards all around the world. Here’s a link to the trailer if you are interested: The Gleaners and I.
You’ll notice this week that we are beginning to transition out of the high summer crops. Melons, sweet corn, zuchinni, and cucumbers are finished for the season. Peppers and tomatoes are on strong, and as we move forward you’ll see an increasing numbers of roots/fall crops start to show up. New this week – yellow onions, red potatoes and Brussels sprouts (REGS only). Remember, the long green Anaheim peppers are spicy, and the long red Carmen peppers are deliciously sweet!
Enjoy your veggies! Sincerely, Cassie, Mike, and Zea
p.s. no baby yet!