Harvesting UpHill

27 Feb 2024, by Admin in Harvest Blog, Harvest VISTA, Washington state, Harvest Against Hunger

Led by Elena from Hopelink, a group of five harvested over 300 pounds of rhubarb on Jim Eichner’s Food Bank Farm in Snohomish today. It was a nice day for harvesting, with the weather hitting a warm 77 degrees, but with a pleasant breeze

blowing through the fields. The farmer gave us some great advice, “always harvest uphill”- it’s easier on your body. So here’s some thoughts on working smarter.

 It’s very rewarding to harvest food on behalf of those who need it the most. Many volunteers are retired but all want to devote their time to something meaningful. Gleaning provides that in spades. Yet volunteer retention can be a barrier to many organizations and, although there might not be a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone, one tactic that seems to work across the board is to keep volunteers engaged. Two common strategies are limiting the time to 2 hours or so and allowing volunteers a small portion of the harvest to take home. Maybe this is one way we can “harvest uphill”, or to work a little smarter and keep folks coming back.

It’s still basically rhubarb season in the PNW, even though it’s well into July! Why not make a dessert made with fresh rhubarb, as an excuse to go gleaning?

Here’s the recipe for Rhubarb crisp and few suggestions:

  • In step two, replace the cornstarch with tapioca starch in the rhubarb and sugar mixture for a nicer texture to the filling. 
  • Skip cutting in the butter in step 3 and just melt the butter and stir it into the oats for a crispier crust.