Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gleaning

Strange thought? Not really. Gleaning is a way of gathering food that's leftover or not harvested (and no one intends to harvest it; we're not talking about thievery here!).

Where do you find food to glean?

Farmer's fields after they've been harvested. It's amazing how much is left out there after the big machinery finishes. Be sure to ask permission first and don't be discouraged if you're told you can't. Just go on to the next farm.

Fruit trees, grape vines, etc., on empty lots or anywhere no one wants them. I saw a beautiful grape vine filled with grapes alongside a gas station. No one would go to the trouble of picking them. I have seen apple, peach and pear trees so loaded with fruit they were making a mess on the lawn. Go to the door and ask. It won't hurt!

Roadsides sometimes have escaped food growing. In farming country, corn might be growing alongside the road or a stray sugar beet could have found a home there. Watch for things like these.

Don't pass by food because it's squished or split, either. For instance, onions are sometimes transported in open trucks here and a few fall off when an overloaded truck turns a corner. When they hit the ground, they ofte split or get smashed on one side. They are still food. You can take them home, cut off the damaged part and eat the rest.

If you're in the right area, food companies will have receiving decks or facilities where they sort the produce from farmers. Often the rejected produce is available to be picked over. Sometimes they require you to sign a waiver that it will only be used for livestock feed. Do horses eat cucumbers? I don't know...

Right now is the time to glean food, so take a look around and see what's out there. You might be really surprised.

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