Today I’m grateful for over a bushel of free apples that my kids went to pick with a dear neighbor!
Free food as a result of gleaning is a beautiful thing to give and receive. Regardless of where you live, the benefits of gleaning are endless, both in terms of sharing food but also relationally if you handle it correctly.
Here are a few tips:
First of all, ASK! - Tell folks that you are in the market for whatever people can’t use. Let them know that you’ll come over and pick, clean up, whatever! You may have to do this year after year until word gets around, but once it does, you’ll have people calling you right and left asking if you want free food.
Ignore imperfection – Sometimes free food is less than attractive, but I look at it this way. As in the case with my apples, they all look the same once peeled. Cut out any bad parts and keep reminding yourself how much you paid….nothing.
Go work – Make it known that you are willing to go pick and/or help clean up. There are older folks with mature fruit trees that they can no longer maintain who might be thrilled to have someone come and pick from their trees.
Listen for those gardeners who are “sick” of canning and wouldn’t mind if you came over to “glean” from what’s left of their garden.
Share – When you score something free, be sure to offer to others as well. A smaller family could be thrilled to receive a small bit of what you’ve been blessed with.
Also, consider sharing what you made from your stash. If you get apples, make a pie for those who shared their fruit with you. They’ll never forget to call you!
Call others – Remember to scratch someone else’s back. When you see a good deal or gleaning opportunity, call your contacts and let them in on it too!
Never say “no” – If someone calls and asks if you want something, always take it. If you appear particular, people won’t call you.
Always say “thank you” - Sending a thank you note or just an email of appreciation, never underestimate the power of “thank you” and “I appreciate you”. It’s nice and it’s just the right way to treat people.