Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bringing in the Sheaves

Another Fall picture that brings back memories. Around 1954, I belonged to a Lutheran Church youth group. A member of the congregation offered to let us pick up the corn that had been missed by the cornpickers. He would then sell it and the money would be donated to missions.

And, so it was that the bunch of us were out in the cornfield on a frosty Saturday morning walking down the tangled, brown rows of harvested corn. I was surprised that there were lots of golden corncobs lying everywhere. The farmer pulled a farm wagon along beside us so all we had to do was toss it in. By noon, the wagon was filled.

At the edge of the field, some of the Moms had set up a folding table and served up hot chocolate and donuts. Then we got a ride back into town to the church. I only went gleaning that one time, but I'm so glad I got participate in this ancient tradition.

I don't know if farming methods today prevent such wastage, but there must be tons of food that escapes harvesting and rots in the field. I realize now that gleaning is a very noble environmental enterprise.


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Ms. Sparrow, I am happy to tell you that gleaning still goes on! By human and by animal! Some places let in hogs to "clean up" fallen apples, etc. Some will let those who run cattle come get the leftover pumpkins for their cattle. Some farms have opened their harvested fields to any who feel they could benefit by picking up the leavings.

That is such an interesting memory that you shared. I bet it was really quite fun, despite being work!

Kittie Howard said...

What a fabulous, warm memory. In my area it's rather split among farmers -- about half allow gleaning, half don't. I wish, like you, that all did, so much food just lying there -- and delicious food!

Daughter Number Three said...

There have been a number of organized apple gleanings this year in the Twin Cities area farms, with the results being donated to food shelves.

in addition to this type of food waste, I just heard that it's estimated Americans waste almost half of the food produced in our country. I'm assuming that's farther down the food chain than at this point, such as post-purchase.

And I should say -- I also enjoy your recollections very much!