A Sea of Blue: Gleaning now in its third year
Blueberry gleaning in its third year attracts local volunteers
Blueberry gleaning at the Farm Hub launched in early July with patches in full bloom. Two varieties of the blueberries – Reka and Chandler – packed the fields on Route 209, some of them as large as quarters. This is the third year that the Hudson Valley Farm Hub partnered with UlsterCorps for gleaning; UlsterCorps team members distribute the fruit to various community feeding programs, food pantries, and other emergency feeding centers in the region such as People’s Place, Rondout Valley Food Pantry, Sacred Ways, and Family of Ellenville Food Pantry.
“Fresh fruit, especially blueberries, are not common in emergency feeding programs,” says Sarah Brannen, associate director of programs. They are highly perishable, labor-intensive, and therefore quite expensive. We believe everyone has a right to enjoy fresh fruit and Ulster Corps has an amazing volunteer network and distribution network to help harvest the berries and get them to people who otherwise likely wouldn’t have access. It’s also a great opportunity for people from the community to get to visit the Farm Hub and volunteer with UlsterCorps.”
Every Monday and Wednesday, a crew of volunteers arrives to pick blueberries. But the work doesn’t end with harvest. Post-harvest involves weighing and recording the berries, and finally distribution. In 2018, the Farm Hub donated 1,496 pounds of blueberries through the gleaning program. If you’re interested in volunteering, please join us by contacting UlsterCorps at 845-481-0331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.