We are lucky to live in a such a beautiful state with so many wonderful opportunities for finding fresh, local produce. Taelin and I have picked strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries this summer and after eating our fill, have frozen the rest to use throughout the year. Fall will soon be here soon enough and apple trees will be drooping with their juicy fruit which means apple cider doughnuts and pie…and homemade applesauce. But I will admit that every year since living here, I have noticed when driving past orchards on the way to pick up pumpkins that there were hundreds of apples just rotting away and thought about what a waste it was.
Well, I obviously wasn’t the only one who noticed and luckily there are people with more imagination that I have. I was at yoga awhile ago and the yoga instructor asked if there was anything going on in the community that anyone wanted to share. Another participant spoke up and shared that Salem Harvest was picking cherries that week. Many of us weren’t familiar with Salem Harvest and she explained more about this non-profit organization. If you want to get the whole story go here and read more about them.
Salem Harvest is an all-volunteer community harvesting organization that was formed in January 2010 as a project of Friends of Salem Saturday Market. The coordinators connect people in the community to fresh fruits and vegetables growing both on farms and in backyards which would otherwise go to waste. You can sign up for a “harvest”, as they call it, and you are responsible for bringing any tools you might need (ladders, buckets, etc.). You can harvest as much produce as you can during the time and half of what you harvest you keep for yourself and the other half is donated to the Marion-Polk Food Share.
So basically, for a little bit of your time and effort you can get free, local produce for your family while helping provide produce to families in need…all using food that otherwise would just go to waste for a variety of reasons. It is a win-win situation.
Joe, Taelin and I signed up for a cherry harvest a couple of weeks ago. It was easy to sign up and I have to give kudos to the organizers…not a detail was forgotten. Everyone was super friendly and highly organized. In 40 minutes, we had harvested 14 pounds of cherries, 7 of which got to keep for ourselves. We actually left a little more than half because Taelin helped herself to a few cherries before we left…as you can tell from this…
I wish I had taken more pictures of us actually picking the cherries, but we were so busy picking I didn’t think even think of until we were leaving.
We have only done this one harvest and I am hooked! I am so looking forward to upcoming harvests. You never know when one is going to be scheduled or what it is going to be, but that kind of adds even more excitement!!! If you are interested in finding out more about this organization or how you might get involved please visit Salem Harvest. It is all for a good cause…feeding families.