This time of year, you’ll hear us talking a lot about it being our ‘peak season’ – the time when we’re out gleaning at our highest capacity. It’s when we start getting calls from farms, orchards, and home gardeners, and when even our grocery partners have more for us than usual. What’s even more surprising to me is that this season seems to keep getting longer on either end – starting sooner, and ending later each year.
Rather than just talking about all this generally, though, I thought it might be interesting to show you exactly what it looks like. Here’s what our records show us doing during a recent week, June 24 – June 30:
Monday, June 24:
11:30 AM – Our longtime volunteers, Pat and Zadie, show up to Costco where they pick up a great assortment of produce, weighing in at 848 pounds. They deliver it directly to Calvary Church of the Nazarene, where it will be distributed to members of the community throughout that afternoon.
1:00 PM – Another longtime volunteer, Carol, arrives at Fresh Market where she picks up 180 pounds of produce. She delivers it to Greenhouse17, where it will be incorporated into meals for residents in their program.
Tuesday, June 25:
9:30 AM – Beth picks up 110 pounds of assorted produce – berries, packaged fruit, greens, salads, and more – and delivers it to the Family Care Center in Lexington. (You can read more about our partnership with Family Care Center in our recent blog!)
Noon – Riley, a relatively new volunteer, visits Costco to pick up 416 pounds of assorted produce for delivery to the Lexington Senior Center, where it was distributed along with their monthly commodity pick up.
2:00 PM – Barb visits UK’s Arboretum to pick up excess produce from their garden – this week it’s 55 pounds of chard, kale, lettuce, squash, and blueberries. She takes it over to the YMCA on Loudon Avenue, where visitors to the center are able to pick from it freely.
3:00 PM – Mary, one of GleanKY’s founding volunteers, makes her weekly pickup at Good Foods Co-op, where she gleans 50 pounds of peppers, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, and lemons. She delivers it to Nathaniel Mission, for use in their meals.
Wednesday, June 26:
9:30 AM – One of GleanKY’s most frequent gleaners, Larry, visits Whole Foods, where he picks up 171 pounds of fresh produce. He makes our weekly delivery to Main Street Baptist, where the produce will be distributed to members of the surrounding community.
Noon – Derek and Carol meet at Costco to divvy up 744 pounds of produce. Derek delivers his portion to the Catholic Action Center and the Hope Center, while Carol takes her half to The Nest and Sister’s Road to Freedom.
Thursday, June 27:
9:00 AM – Madison and I meet Richard, one of our most dependable farm gleaners, at Stonehedge Farm in Woodford County, where we load the van completely full of squash and eggplant – 2,700 pounds in total. We spend the morning and early afternoon delivering it to Blue Grass Farms Charities, FoodChain, God’s Pantry Food Bank, Lexington Rescue Mission, The Nest, Cardinal Valley Park, the Loudon YMCA, the Whitaker YMCA, Shiloh Baptist Church, the Winburn Community Action Council, and Community Inspired Solutions.
9:30 AM – Barb arrives at Whole Foods, where she gleans 123 pounds of produce (mostly fruit) and then delivers it to F&D Market, where it is made available to the community at no cost.
10:00 AM – Jenny and Charlie glean Fresh Market, picking up 224 pounds of fruits and vegetables for delivery to Lexington Market, for distribution in partnership with Lexington’s chapter of Food Not Bombs.
Noon – Anna picks up 800 pounds of fruit (mostly pineapples, with some grapes, berries, and melons thrown in), delivering it to Grace Baptist Church for distribution to the community.
2:00 PM – Garth, a longtime gleaner and local TV celebrity, gleans 108 pounds of produce and takes it over to our Neighborhood Ambassador Rosie.
Friday, June 28:
9:30 AM – Larry arrives at Whole Foods, where he picks up 150 pounds of produce for delivery to Lexington’s Ballard-Griffith Towers, where it’s made available to seniors living in the residence.
Saturday, June 29:
9:00 AM – Barb gleans 190 pounds of grocery quality produce (tomatoes, apples, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and more) from Whole Foods, delivering it to Sisters Road to Freedom.
Noon – Larry and Kelly team up to glean Costco – they pick up 649 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and take it directly to the Hope Center.
Noon – Rachael visits the Franklin County Farmers Market to pick up excess herbs, greens, broccoli, cabbage, and onions from vendors. She then delivers it to the Franklin County Women and Family Shelter, as well as a Neighborhood Ambassador in Frankfort.
Sunday, June 30:
Noon – Longtime volunteer, Ann, picks up 1,600 pounds of produce from Costco, taking it to two mobile home parks in Lexington for distribution to residents.
2:00 PM – Our summer intern, Ramy, picks up 753 pounds of fresh-from-the-market produce from vendors at the Lexington Farmers Market – he delivers it to Cardinal Valley Park, where it is distributed immediately to residents in the area.
You can see that was a busy week – twenty unique volunteers spent over a combined thirty hours doing the simple but vital work of gleaning throughout our community, with a few of them gleaning two or three times in a single week. All that work added up to 9,886 pounds of fresh produce being delivered to twenty-nine sites throughout our Central Kentucky, helping hundreds of people and their families add healthy produce to their meals.
You can be a part of this work, too – find out everything you need to know about becoming a volunteer with GleanKY right here on our website.