Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Gleaning at Appleton Farm

Yesterday was my first gleaning trip of the year. I glean with the Boston Area Gleaners. We go to area farms that have produce that they aren't picking for some reason - more than they can sell, a bit past its prime, not enough workers to pick it. This time it was tatsoi and boc choy that was starting to bolt. We typically spend about three hours in the fields picking.

And no I don't keep the produce, though I could bring a small bag back if I wanted. I really didn't need either this week. The produce gets distributed to different food banks in the area.

One of the best parts about being part of the gleaners other than helping people of course, is visiting the farms. This one is part of the Trustees of the Reservation so they are big on stewardship of their land. We got to see their pastured cows being moved from one field to another. They have chickens on real grass. But the farms we visit are very diverse. And sometimes it is a small field tucked into woods. Sometimes it is a vacant lot being farmed in the city. And sometimes it coincides with my mental image of a New England farm with nice rolling hill vistas.


My only issue with gleaning is eating lunch at the end. I get home late and then I have to cook myself something. If I were smart I'd cook it the day before and have it in the fridge. In fact I didn't even have any greens picked and in the fridge. Well except lettuce though recently I've been eating my daily salad at dinner. So after spending hours picking tatsoi on the farm, I came home and picked some tatsoi from the garden so I could eat. Tatsoi, a little garlic, olive oil, some eggs, and salt. I had some homemade tortillas in the fridge that needed eating so I crisped them up and tossed them on top.

I was still hungry so had some dessert. Mangos and strawberries. Yum. And a slice of bread with butter on the top.


  1. Oh what a day! I love Appleton Farms. We lived only about a five minute drive away in Ipswich. In the summer we'd hike the trails with our children and in the winter, cross-country ski. Thank you for this beautiful memory and you've added a new dimension to my knowledge of Appleton Farms.

  2. I would have thought that the farm, or the gleaning organisation, could provide lunch for the gleaners!

  3. What a brilliant program! Cheers to you and the other volunteers :)

  4. I remember reading about you "gleaning" last fall ... very cool idea. I've recently subscribed to a website (foodwork.ca) which lists both paid and volunteer work opportunities related to farms/gardening/food. I hope to do something similar this year.

  5. Such a wonderful way to see the farms and help the food banks. Your lunch looks delicious - and quick, which these days is a big plus for me.

  6. What a wonderful way to help the food banks and encourage healthy eating. When I was young, my friend used to pick peas in a similar activity. I was always jealous. Now? I grow my own.