The Big Pick

Remember how a bunch of volunteers came and harvested our orange trees a few months ago? Well, today we gave back to our community and this time, we were the harvesters! Food Forward LA was hosting their annual “Big Pick” at my university, CSUN, and today alongside 298 other volunteers, Matt and I helped harvest close to 15,000 pounds of oranges that were donated to Southern California Food Banks.

A regular old pair of Fruit Loops

Here’s a few thoughts about today’s act of volunteerism:

1) Orange Picking is hard work. I have a new appreciation for the people that pick my food. After an hour of arching my arms and neck up towards the sky and pulling on the flexi-rake thing to try and pluck down oranges, I was tired, and feeling lazy. Thankfully, some free coffee and swell tunes put the swing back in my step in no time.

Gettin' Busy

2) Hard work is always, always worth it when there’s a reward at the end (there usually is). Today the reward was knowing that four simple hours of our lives resulted in the full tummies of families across Los Angeles.

A SMALL section of the Bounty!

3) The smell of citrus, tangy and sweet, is one of the best on earth. It’s impossible not to breathe in deep as the crisp, aromatic smell of orange juice wafts by you.

Thumbs up for the sweet citrus smell!

4) Stepping on rotten oranges is fun. ‘Nuff said. They pop like a water balloon under your shoe – and hey, they’ll compost faster if they’re broken down. Step on it!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Matt in a tree!

5) Matt has astounding climbing abilities. He scurried up the trees like a monkey and filled his orchard bag in record time, as I jealously looked on from the floor.

REACH!

6) If you’re harvesting tree fruit, you just might get hit on the head. As I pulled down an orange, another fell next to it and landed right on my noggin. THUD. I’m going to consider it good luck.

If you’re in the LA area, you really should consider volunteering a few hours of your time to Food Forward. Sunshine, oranges and helping people – what’s not to love? Till ‘next time – get your vitamin C – and have an orangetastic day!

 

 

 

Oranges + volunteers = Fruitanthropy

Cute and Colorful Food Forward Van

On Saturday morning, thanks to the help of some volunteers and a great nonprofit called Food Forward, we experienced for the first time, the act of fruitanthropy.¬†Fruitanthrophy is the picking, donating or distributing of fruit for humanitarian purposes. The house that Matt and I rent is graced with two huge, beautiful orange trees that have probably been growing there since the early 1950’s when the house was built. I love the springtime smell of orange blossoms heavily perfuming the air, and the cool, thick shade that their lush green foliage provides, but in our small 2 person family, sadly, most of the actual oranges go to waste.

Food Forward is a non-profit that picks unneeded fruit from people’s trees all over Southern California and donates them to local food banks. With our two massive trees, there’s no way Matt and I could even eat 1/10 of what the trees produce. They came out Saturday morning with their van and ladders, fruit picking tools (I have no idea what those are called!) and lots of empty boxes to collect our backyard bounty.

Helpful Volunteers go to work

It was so much fun watching the people ascend up into the trees and come back with a basket full of oranges. The harvest took about an hour, and talk about an easy way to give back to our community – those oranges were definitely not being used to their full potential, and now, the fruit of our trees can feed lots of hungry people.

Box 'em up!

 

At the end of the pick on Saturday, the team had harvested over 350 pounds of oranges! They separated the oranges from the stems and leaves and boxed them up for their journey to the food banks.¬†350 pounds goes a long way towards feeding hungry members of a community. Even though I wasn’t out there pulling the oranges from the trees, it felt so good to know that we were helping out, especially since food is such a near and dear part of my life.

Over 350 pounds of oranges!

If you have fruit trees in your yard that you aren’t “using”, I encourage you to research some organizations near your house that could help you harvest your fruit. Your trees will be healthy and happy, you’ll help feed hungry families, and you’ll help out a community in times of need. It’s a win win situation! To find out more about Food Forward and how you can help, visit their website at foodforward.org.

Thanks, Volunteers! (Can you spot a Matthew in there?)

Bye, Oranges! Go Forth and Nourish!