Apr 142011

Pam Miller made this observation as a comment to my last post: “My only concern is the many underutilized exiting trees that are on the island. I see a lot of fruit go to waste every year because it isn’t picked.”

I’m going to guess that most of the trees Pam is referring to are on private property. I will suggest that the reason they don’t get picked is because not enough interested gleaners know about these trees or the owners don’t invite others to pick them.

It would be great if we could inventory trees on the island that are available for gleaning. We could publicize this information and organize a gleaning crew. Last year when we got ready to press some cider we didn’t have apples. Had to use purchased apples to make the kids some juice. Granted, last year’s crop was pretty poor on the island but if there are trees that need picking I’m pretty sure we could find people to do the job just to help out or for a share of the crop.

Speaking of gleaners, there is a quirky documentary on Netflix instant play that I found to be very watchable and entertaining:
The Gleaners and I “Inspired by Jean-François Millet’s famous painting “Les Glaneuses,” filmmaker Agnes Varda strikes out with just a hand-held digital camera in search of the modern equivalent of Millet’s grain field gleaners. She finds her quarry at dumpsters, outdoor markets and roadsides across France. Varda’s no-holds-barred documentary about scavengers and recyclers is an insouciant treat from beginning to end, with an unexpectedly obtuse perspective.”

I’ll predict that “waste” is a word that we’ll soon be trying to eliminate from our vocabulary. Foraging and gleaning will become part of our lives. Might as well start getting some practice.


  5 Responses to “Gleaners”

  1. Here on south Whidbey a local guy is operating a a daily email service that offers everything from used cars and trucks to jobs and local produce — everything is being recycled locally. It’s just a matter of connecting buyers and sellers. He accepts donations to pay for his time. It is highly successful — a mini Craig’s list just for locals.

  2. There is a very productive apple tree on Sunrise Rd just before the Otto Farm gate. Not sure if it is considered part of Otto Farm or not. Have seen people glean there before but not every year. It is a bit awkward to reach.

  3. There is an apple tree in my front yard that my Dad “planted” in about 1910. My front yard used to be covered in wild roses, ocean spray, and snow berries, with a path tromped through them leading to the beach. My Dad claimed that he used to toss apple cores into the brush as he ran to the beach, and the resulting tree is a gift of his deposits. Now the lawn is manicured, but the tree remains. In good years, it supplies more apples than we can use when ripe in August, and the ravens enjoy their fill of the fruit. If we get a good crop this year, I will let the local gleaners know when they are available.

  4. The DVD is also available through the WCLS (Whatcom County Library System). Also titled Les Glaneurs Et la Glaneuse

  5. Apparently about 1% of all beer is discarded into landfills, as being out of date. Some enterprising refuse company employees have been gleaning free beer by the caseload for years in the NJ landfill mentioned.
    “Waste not, want not”

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