come, glean

I was up on Blueberry hill with Kevin this morning, helping mulch the new plants they put in yesterday. It's nice and quiet up there. And there's more of a calm, unchanging feel there, since the blueberry bushes grow and produce berries for years.

On our walk home, I asked about surpluses of things like watermelons, sweet corn, and tomatoes. Kevin said that he'd tried giving some of it away. He even found one guy from a local charity who would bring people to glean produce that hadn't been picked (because there was an excess of that crop). That sounded good to me. I'd like to encourage and help organize more of that.

One part of work on a small farm (and bakery) that has raised questions for me is how the customers tend to be the more wealthy suburbanites. Especially when, to cover the expenses of a small operation, the farm focuses on growing the more expensive produce, like berries. I think growing good food or making good bread is very worthwhile work. But for me it takes something away to know that only the richer people will enjoy these good things.

It reminds me of a friend who is a potter in North Carolina (we hope to visit him this summer on our walk). He is an excellent craftsman; his work is beautiful. But to make his living by such work he needs to charge prices that only fairly wealthy collectors can afford. That bothers him. Me too.

But much of the produce and breads made here also go to the families who live here. I like that. I'd feel better about the work, though, if we can find a way to produce more nourishing gifts for the poor rather than luxury items for the rich.