Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Gleaning is a term that may not bring up fond memories for you, since not many people have gleaned fields.

It was common until more recently, when "poor folks" began to be looked down on, especially those who tried their best to do what they could what they had. Okay, strike that as a political comment.

The truth is that gleaning is still alive in organizations like Second Harvest, where people go out and glean the harvested fields then donate what they have picked up.

There is so much waste in the fields! I don't know the statistics, but from what I can see, I would say that at least 20% and maybe more, of all produce grown is left in the fields. Picking it up and putting it to good use only makes sense, even if you have the money to buy it otherwise. Wastefulness is not a sign of good sense, no matter what the circumstance.

Besides what is left in the fields, produce like onions, carrots and sugar beets roll off the trucks as they're being taken to the sorting facility. Then at that facility, some are tossed aside because they're not the right size or, in the case of carrots, they're misshapen.

Modern machinery requires certain sizes and shapes to fit and modern consumers require more or less perfectly shaped and colored produce. Between the two, there is probably another 20% or more good produce thrown out. 

If you can get your hands on it, this produce is perfectly good and fresher than you will find in the grocery store.

The onions you see were picked up by me last weekend as we came back from a trip to the Pumpkin Patch. They were split from falling off a truck, but otherwise wonderful, just as if I'd pulled them from my own garden.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The TIme of Year for Digging Dandelions

It's time to dig dandelion roots again! I wrote about it here: Dandelion Coffee fourteen years ago! Since then, it's become
The Annual Dandelion Coffee Dig. 

With the price of dandelion root coffee or tea, whatever you want to call it, I figure I've saved quite a bit. It's around $5 for 20 teabags. I can dig, clean and roast enough to make probably 200 teabags in one afternoon.

If my math is right, that's about $50 worth of dandelion tea. Maybe not killer wages but not too bad, either, and I don't have to worry about what else is in the dandelion root.

I don't poison or use artificial fertilizer on my backyard, so the dandelion roots there are safe.  We had a mild summer with quite a bit of rain, so I'm looking forward to a big harvest this year.

If you've never tried it, give it a chance. The two links above explain the process.