Monster Mash of a Post!

Happy Halloween!  As October, a wonderfully busy month, comes to its much-anticipated end, I have a stew of ideas to share with you!

GLEANING!  There is an article on NPR that explains it well, so I'll send you there. This fall I was hooked up with The Society of Saint Andrew, The kids and I went on an apple glean, after which we delivered 70 lbs of apples to the Kansas City Indian Center, 70 lbs of apples to a soup kitchen, and even got to bring home 30 lbs of apples for ourselves.  I told a friend about it, and she and her kids participated in a glean as well.  Then there was a sweet potato glean, and this weekend is a pumpkin glean-- with a potential 400,000 lbs of pumpkin and squash that can be recovered.

Another way I have been participating in gleaning is collecting grocery store cast-offs.  Every week, the manager of the grocery goes through bread and produce and even his flowers, and bags up hundreds of pounds of food that is no longer sellable.  It's sometimes just on the verge of expiration date. Sometimes it's just bruised, squashed, or otherwise ugly.  A sister organization has a truck and picks up the cast-offs, and our people go through all the food and distribute it in an area that is considered an "urban food desert." Even with this, some of the food is "too ugly" for people to want, and I end up bringing a lot of it home to feed my family and neighbors.  This past year has seen stale bread made into croutons and bread puddings and dressings, bananas that I take to the high school and just stand there next to the box, amazed at how excited a football player can get over a bunch of ripe bananas. And bruised apples and pears...

Yesterday I peeled, chopped and stewed 40 lbs of bruised pears.  My kids helped by doing 10 lbs of apples.  They ate the apples for supper (with 4 loaves of bread discarded from a bakery/restaurant).  My neighbor brought over a glass of wine and watched me, chatting with me. She told me the fruit would make my hands soft.  She was right!  I hope she wants one of these jars of pear butter!

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