Volunteering with Food Forward — PHOTOS

I signed up to volunteer with Food Forward. The organization gleans extra produce from framers markets and harvests excess fruits and vegetables from local properties by invitation, donating 100% to local pantries across Southern California. They enlist volunteers to help out with both initiatives. Pretty cool concept, eh?

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I signed up for one of the citrus fruit picking trips, because I was born and raised in a state where an annual pilgrimage to pick apples at an apple orchard must happen every October. It’s in every New York native’s blood.  So off I was to Pasadena to go pick grapefruits and oranges.

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The trees were located at a private residence with a stunning self-sustaining backyard. I started off picking from this orange tree. We were instructed to leave 25% of the lowest hanging fruit for the owner and harvest mostly from the top. I’m really short, so thank goodness we had these pickers and a ladder! Once I was done with the orange tree, I joined the other volunteers at the grapefruit tree…

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The photo above doesn’t even cover half of the huge grapefruit tree we harvested. Most of the largest and ready grapefruits were located at the top of the tree, but protected by a labyrinth of branches. Just like in life, though, if you shift a little and take a look from a different angle, you’ll find another way to harvest. 

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We harvested 11 boxes total, most of which were grapefruits! Would I volunteer again? Absolutely. I found the experience to be very relaxing. Everyone was so nice. Unfortunately, their fruit picking trips fill up super fast, but I’ll definitely find another one.

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