Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Place I Live: OC Harvest Club

 I don’t want to spend too much time rehashing the past, but one of the ways I spent my time while on my blogging hiatus was volunteering. Awhile ago I had signed up for The Harvest Club of Orange County’s email list and every time they had a volunteer opportunity in my area it was either full or on a day that I had something going on. I finally had the chance to attend my first harvest just under the wire for the last harvests of 2013 and it was pretty awesome.

So what’s this Harvest Club you ask? It’s pretty simple. A group of harvesters show up at a location (usually residential) and pick fruit or veggies to their hearts content. The boxes of harvested food are delivered to a food bank and used to feed the needy. How great is that?
Along with 5 other volunteers and our harvest captain we gleaned beautiful yellow lemons from one of the biggest lemon trees I have ever seen. There were large lemons, weirdly shaped lemons and tons that were still green and would be ready for picking in a month or so. Neighbors stopped by to see what was going on and to see if they might not walk away with a handful of lemons for themselves. We filled up 5 boxes, or approximately 200 pounds of lemons, that were delivered to a local church to help feed over 500 people.

If you are wondering why the lemons didn’t end up at a food bank, I’ll tell you. A majority of Orange County citrus is under quarantine because of citrus diseases. Because of this, citrus should be contained to the area it is grown in to not contaminate other trees. I’ll be honest and say that I like that the quarantine forces the food to be used where it was grown and harvested. The fruits of my labor are going to help feed people that live near me – that contribution feels extra good.

Not convinced yet that you should volunteer as a harvester? After 120 harvests in 2013 over 50,000 pounds of fruit was donated to help feed the community. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, the Harvest Club recruits scouts and ambassadors that reach out to neighbors with fruiting trees to donate their harvest. If you have a tree bursting with fruit or tons of veggies be sure to sign up as a grower. Come on, are you really going to eat all those oranges on your tree? Share a little.

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome. This is the kind of volunteering that I'd do if there was something like it by me.


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