The WSU Extension Gleaning Program is seeking local fruit and vegetables not being collected by property owners. Each year, gleaners rescue tens of thousands of pounds of produce that would otherwise go to waste, program organizers say. Photo courtesy of WSU Extension Gleaning Program

The WSU Extension Gleaning Program is seeking local fruit and vegetables not being collected by property owners. Each year, gleaners rescue tens of thousands of pounds of produce that would otherwise go to waste, program organizers say. Photo courtesy of WSU Extension Gleaning Program

Gleaners can help edibles from waste piles

Gleaners are in search of produce to pick and share with the community this growing season.

The Clallam Gleaning Program, run through the WSU Extension Office, has the dual goal of reducing food waste in Clallam County, while also addressing hunger and poor nutrition. Every year gleaners rescue tens of thousands of pounds of produce that would otherwise go to waste.

This year program organizers are especially on the lookout for figs, peaches, apricots, walnuts, berries, hazelnuts, grapes, vegetables or Italian Prune Plums, because these items are in great demand; however, any produce is welcome.

“This is how it works: a gleaner will come to your house and pick your extra produce,” WSU Extension Gleaning Coordinator Sharah Truett. “The produce is then donated to food banks, schools, senior nutrition programs, residential facilities, shelters, etc. This way, the food is spread as widely as possible in our community and not left to rot under trees.”

Gleaning, Truett noted, is an old-fashioned word that means harvesting extra fruits and vegetables which are left in the field after a farmer has already picked everything they can sell.

“However, you don’t have to be a farmer to participate,” Truett said. “If you are a homeowner with good-tasting, pest-free fruits and veggies in your garden, we would love to pick them.”

Homeowners can learn more about the program by contacting Truett at 360-565-2619 or at sharah.truett@wsu.edu.

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