ZUM Day of Caring 2017 – HopeLink Harvest

ZUM Day of Caring 2017 – HopeLink Harvest

Maples and birch surrounded the ardent valley, draping the hills with Fall attire – rusty oranges, burgundy reds, bright yellows, and deep greens. It was a resplendent morning for our Day of Caring 2017.

The ZUM team huddled together, cupping our coffees and lattes to warm our hands. We stood on a patch of rocks that belonged to Sound Sustainable Farms in Redmond. Rows of organic fruits and vegetables laid out before us as far as the eye could see. The harvest was ready be gleaned.

Gleaning is the final act in the harvest lifecycle. Once the premium crops have been harvested and sold for commercial consumption, there are still hundreds of pounds of beautiful vegetables and fruits still left on the vines, stems and shrubs that might not have been ripe at the time of harvest, but a week or two later, they are ready to eat. Or perhaps they simply got missed.

While we waited for our Hopelink contact, Lindsey, to arrive at the farm, we chatted it up with each other and with the other volunteers. There was a man and a woman who were both retired and separately volunteered at various sponsored events every month. Another gal in her late 20’s just wanted to see what gleaning was all about, and the last gal was there to fulfill a part of her curriculum at Bastyr University.

When Lindsey arrived, we were informed that we would be gleaning bell peppers and delicata squash. We travelled down a grassy walking path that took us to the east end of the field, and met up at the Hopelink truck. As we surrounded the truck, Lindsey started tossing empty cardboard boxes out of the truck and one-by-one we each collected a receptacle.

“Collect the orange peppers, but leave any that are still green. Don’t take any peppers that are squishy or turning. Those will get tilled back into the soil for nutrients. The rest we’ll take to our foodbank in Redmond.” In a fit of excitement, she said “These peppers will FLY off the shelves. We don’t get them very often and people LOVE them. These are the favorite vegetables at the bank!”

The ZUM team spent the next two hours gleaning from hundreds of little plants. We worked fast, and laughed often. There couldn’t have been a more gorgeous day to be there. This was our second time serving Hopelink. The first time rained all. day. long.  We slugged our way through mud and muck and froze in the wet and chill. We knew we lucked out this year.

Hopelink is an amazing organization that helps more than 64,00 people. The Hopelink Harvest program that we participated in “collects donations of surplus produce for distribution at Hopelink food banks.” Together, we gleaned over 1500 pounds of organic produce in just two hours! If you’re interested in checking out the opportunities to support our community through Hopelink, just visit their website and click on the “TAKE ACTION” tab. There are dozens of ways to help. We had so much fun we’ve already talked about doing it again next year.

To see more photos and information on ZUM’s Charity Work…. Visit our Giving Back Page.

Tiffanny Brooks

Senior Director // tiffanny@zumcom.com