Quick access to tools is important when calls arrive about gleaning opportunities. Storing tools in a designated gleaning vehicle is convenient, but typically multiple vehicles are used during a harvest season. The solution is storing large tools neatly elsewhere so they can easily be reached and transferred to the “gleaning” vehicle, along with baskets or crates, ready for the trip to orchard or fields. Meanwhile, keep a basket or caddy in your personal vehicle filled with essential paperwork, plastic gloves, sanitary wipes, sunscreen, water bottles, harvesting knives and large plastic bags.
A variety of tools can be purchased to make harvesting easier. Forinstance, a straight tine fork goes don into clay soils to avoid piercing root vegetables while digging. Serrated harvesting knives saw through stems without excessive pressure, which reduces the risk of cuts from sharp, straight blades. Short knives are best for lettuce and longer ones for cabbage and other veggies with thick stalks. Picking tools on poles for tree fruits, bag-type and claw-type, can be purchases either online or from local farm supply tools.
CREATE MICRO-CLIMATE STORAGE: Try to deliver produce to food banks and hot meal programs quickly after harvest as it preserves vitamins, minerals and texture. But sometimes leafy greens must be held and they are fragile. Agricultural researchers have discovered that storing lettuce and other leafy veggies in large plastic bags preserves freshness in the cooler. The bag creates a micro-climate to reduce the dehydration caused by refrigeration that results in wilt.
Harvest Against Hunger continued its partnership with Community Action of Skagit County Agency for a third year in 2013. Gleaning and donations tripled with an increase in grower and volunteer participation. The program expanded into farm donations, continued fruit tree harvests, alliances with food bank and community gardens, fostered donations from home gardeners and farmers markets.