|Such a beautiful view. Cucumber fields as far as the eye can see!|
3 people showed up - it's a start! I am very thankful for even the slightest turnout due to the fact that the gleaning event was such a short-notice (planned it in less than a week with finally knowing even the address just the day before the event). Anyway, let's get to the gleaning.
|Hard at work!|
The farm was in Louisburg, so that was about an hour from where we live so we decided to carpool. We were driving along the country road when all of a sudden, the truck in front of us turned left and into a narrow road. I looked and it was the IFFS truck but our GPS kept telling us to go straight so our split second decision was to trust the GPS. We pulled over after continuing several hundred feet to see what the matter was, and turns out, the GPS was eventually telling us to U-turn anyway and go back. Funny story, eh? Well it was more amusing at the time.
|Farmer Brown telling us what to do!|
Farmer, James Brown, had 3/4 miles of cucumbers to glean and with less than 20 volunteers and a little under 2 hrs, I'm glad to say that we did not even glean half of the glean-able cucumbers out there! Now, I've never gleaned before, so this was completely new to me. The rule for glean-able cucumbers went like this: the cucumbers cannot be too yellow/white, but still must retain a majority of green without any rotten areas. Each person or pair gets a bucket or banana box to store their picked cucumbers until they return back to the truck to drop their load off.
|Wave of gleaners!!|
|Whoops, my finger is in the way...|
Mr. Brown is 31 and a retired professional football player who bought the land with his wife in 2012. I asked him why he made this decision and he said that he has always had a passion for working with his hands. Looking beyond the cucumber fields, you see ponds, hills and the outstretch of a forest. His farm has anything from grapes, apples, peaches, jalapenos, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and more. A plot of land can be so versatile! He said that during harvesting season, 100,000 lbs of cucumbers are picked every single day by the workers (for Mt. Olive for pickling). 100,000 pounds!! That's crazy!
|Farmer Ching, hard at work!|
The workers who harvest the crops work 10 hours a day. We all were about to faint at the 2 hour mark. Wow. This tells you what the human can do through determination.
|Thousands of lbs of cucumbers! All would have gone to waste without us gleaning them!|
All in all, I am very glad that I had this experience, especially given that we picked several thousand pounds of cucumbers that would have gone to waste in a week when the land will be plowed and tossed. This will feed so many people... but at the same time... that's not nearly enough :/.
|The Food Ark representing! Thank you Gautham, Reilly and Cory for coming out with me!|
"Gleaning for life!" is what one of the volunteers from my group, The Food Ark, said afterwards. There are many contexts of this quote. We are giving life to those in need and strengthening our own at the same time. To give is to get.