We are excited to announce a new addition to Agtually… Stories and articles written by some of our fellow young farmers! The first of these stories is included below and has been written by Jordan Berryman of College Run Farms. Look for more of these “Straight from the farm…” stories over the coming months.
By Jordan Berryman of College Run Farms
I have always been very conscious of not wasting produce at the farm. If we have an excess of a particular item, I will send it home with our farm staff, share it with family, or take it across the road to our farm neighbors. There is a local Food Pantry that I try to donate extra produce to and I know several people who have hogs who greatly enjoy over-ripe cantaloupes or extra large squash. When my father was living, he was famous for loading up his truck with our leftover products and delivering them to families in need. All of these acts of kindness made me very happy.
Recently, Ron Saacke, the head of the Farm Bureau Young Farmer’s program, put us in contact with the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsulas. Their organization, along with the Society of St. Andrew, will visit local farms and glean the farmer’s fields in order to help feed the hungry. In case you did not know, gleaning is the act of going back into a field that has already been harvested, and gathering any usable produce that has been left behind. Michelle Benson was one of the members who contacted us directly about gleaning at our farm. Right away, we knew that we wanted and would be able to help.
On Wednesday, August 3, 2011, members and volunteers from the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and the Society of St. Andrew arrived at our farm and went to work. They walked through the old section of sweet corn that we had finished harvesting a few days before and gleaned any ears of corn that had been left behind. It was hot and the corn was itchy, but they set up a tent, had plenty of water, and went to work picking the ripe produce. When they were done, they had successfully gleaned over 1800 pounds of sweet corn. We weighed an ear of corn and figured that they probably picked over 2000 ears of corn that day! Just think – that might be 2 ears of corn for 1000 hungry people for dinner that night…what a wonderful thought. They returned again the following week and were able to glean close to 800 additional ears of corn that was loaded into boxes, and shipped off to shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries throughout the Virginia Peninsula. It amazes me that in years past, all of that corn was left out in the fields for the birds and bugs! We are so grateful to now be a part of this outstanding gleaning project and plan to stay active working with the gleaners. We encourage other farms to get involved as well. Not a farmer? Become a gleaner and volunteer to help with this worthy cause. For more info, go to: www.endhunger.org or www.hrfoodbank.org
Jordan and her husband, Steve, own and operate College Run Farms, a pick-your-own farm located in Surry, Virginia. They grow strawberries, blueberries, butter beans, sweet corn, melons, and pumpkins. Freshly picked fruits and veggies can be purchased at the farm stand or customers can go into the field and harvest their own. To learn more about College Run Farms, visit their website at http://www.collegerunfarms.com or watch this video of their farm.
Tags: acts of kindness, Agriculture, College Run Farms, Consumer, family farm operations, Farm, Farmer, farming, Farms, Food, local food pantry, Surry County, virginia agriculture, virginia farm bureau, Virginia Grown, Young Farmers