How many apples can a group of volunteers pick, over the course of a few hours? When you have volunteers from Kieve Wavus Education, the answer is over 1,000 pounds. Couple that with a group that came together last Sunday, and you have another 750 pounds. That’s 1,750 pounds of apples that were picked, dear readers, and they’re all going out to the community to those in need.
It all started with Mike Reny from Biscay Orchards in Damariscotta, who reached out to the Lincoln County Gleaners because he had an opportunity for folks to pick apples for charity. With heating costs skyrocketing, and inflation showing no sign of stopping, there are a lot of families out there that need help with their grocery bill. That’s why we stock free food tables across the county (also known as share tables), because we know that fresh, healthy food can be pricey and hard to get for families and older adults. We also care deeply about reducing waste, so rescuing food that might go fallow in the fields (or fall off an apple tree!) is right up our alley.
Apple picking is a volunteer opportunity that folks usually love, for obvious reasons. The air is crisp, the work is easy, and the payoff huge. It only takes a few minutes to fill a basket with apples, versus a few hours toiling in the field, under the hot sun, to fill a few totes with greens. Needless to say, I had no trouble filling my signup sheet with folks that wanted to pick apples. Mike was also very generous, dedicating trees specifically to the cause, and opening up the entire U-pick orchard for us. You could say the picking was easy.
My first group of volunteers consisted of 12 educators in residence from Kieve Wavus Education, who brought their endless energy and surprise juggling skills to the orchard. That team picked and packaged an incredible 1,019 pounds of apples in just under two hours.
The second group came together on Sunday, and though this team was smaller, just eight people, they brought in an incredible 750 pounds of apples. We only stopped because I ran out of containers and bags to hold the bounty!
We’ve got big plans for these apples, and many of them have already made their way out to food pantries in the county. Coastal Kids Preschool, which serves 92 families, received bagged apples for each family and staff person, and we sent apples to the FARMS at the Y kitchen. We’ve also been stocking our share tables with apples, which will continue to have overflowing baskets for a few more weeks. See the “share table” section of this column for a full list of those locations.
We’re not stopping there either! On Monday, Oct. 31 we’re hosting an apple-processing event to make applesauce, which will be held at the community kitchen at Rising Tide Co-op. See the “Volunteer Bulletin Board” in this paper for more details on that event.
There are many places that we could distribute apples to, and we are always looking to expand our list of potential recipients. If you have a suggestion, or would like to get involved in volunteer opportunities, email me at email@example.com.