Friday, September 15, 2006

Gleaning

My little corner of the world is fertile, abundant with fruits. They are just dripping off of trees and vines this time of year. Many are lying wasted on the ground, as busy people with fruit trees in their yards simply don't have the time to harvest and process this Autumn windfall. The squirrels, raccoons, and deer are getting plump and sleek as they boldly stroll around our neighborhood enjoying the smorgasbord. We had a good-sized buck in the back field yesterday, but I didn't get to my camera in time, and he wandered off into the woods.

I've made it a habit of politely inquiring of the people I see out and about if they mind if I pick their fruit from trees that are overflowing with it. Some trees around town even have signs giving permission from the owners ahead of time. The kids and I have also been hitting the neighborhood blackberry vines hard, right up until the first raindrop of Fall fell yesterday evening. So I've got 20+ quarts of blackberries in the freezer, and a kitchen full of apples and pears to process. Our housemate/renter has turned our plum tree into batches of double-boiled jam (a pectin-less recipe from Europe, he says).

It's amazing how much free food there is, just here for the taking around town. Which is a good thing, because last night that buck found the hole in our fence and helped himself to our garden!

2 comments:

Karen said...

Hi Robin. Re: fruit from trees going to waste, we have a program in our city that promotes local eating (Hamilton Eat Local Project: http://www.environmenthamilton.org/eatlocal/). One of the projects they coordinate is a Fruit Tree Project where a group of volunteers goes and picks/gathers fruit from backyard trees. They give some to the tree owner (if they want it!), some to the volunteers, and the bulk of the harvest goes to a local food bank. Last year was the first year for the project, and they harvested over 1300 lbs of fruit! I'm going to start volunteering with them soon.

Karen

Robin said...

Wow, thanks for the link. That's a really cool project. I bet we could get a lot of fruit for our local food bank from our town. The streets are just covered with rotting apples right now!