Central Virginians Take Part in Commonwealth Day of Gleaning
A little bruise or ding could cause a perfectly good fruit or vegetable to end up in the trash can instead of the grocery store shelf. Thursday, people around the commonwealth salvaged those overlooked produce for a fate much better than the landfill.
The fruit is being gleaned, which is when people take leftover crops from farmer's fields and give it to those in need. Governor Bob McDonnell declared Thursday "The Virginia Commonwealth Day of Gleaning," and people took part all across central Virginia.
"Just as the saying goes 'beauty is only skin deep' and so it is with fruit that has just a little bit of blemish," said Judy Chiles from Crown Orchard, where a group of volunteers gathered to glean.
Several hundred pounds of peaches, most of which were only slightly blemished, were picked up from Crown Orchard for a good cause.
"We're fortunate enough to be located near major metropolitan areas like Richmond and Washington D.C. that all have people who need food, and these [peaches] being so highly perishable, it's hard to ship it to larger food banks," Chiles said.
So volunteers come and pick it up for them. They tossed out the bad fruit, and hand pick fruit that will go to people in need.
"It's important because the downturn in this economy has made people even more hungry in America," said volunteer Mary Alex.
Organizers say throughout the harvest season, 4,000 pounds of produce can be gleaned from the Charlottesville area and donated to charities like the Piedmont House, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging and The Haven at First and Market.
"The peaches that we donate some of them just have bruising that can be cut out, they're perfectly delicious for peeling, eating, canning, jams and jellies or anything that people would like to do with them," Chiles said.
It's the fruit from the orchard that might be too bruised to sell, but not too damaged to taste good. "They're very delicious, sweet and juicy," Chiles said.
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