Country Lore: Gleaning After the Harvest

After the harvest, if you ask politely, you could potentially walk away with a heafty haul of produce from gleaning local farm fields.
By Craig Idlebrook
October/November 2009
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Gleaning fields after the harvest is a longstanding and respected tradition in Europe.
PHOTO: WAIMONG/FOTOLIA


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Some local farmers don’t mind if enterprising homesteaders pick over their fields (sometimes known as gleaning) after the harvest. In fact, some welcome it as a way to clear the fields of potential pests that would otherwise overwinter in the leftovers.

Our local apple grower charges a flat fee of $25 for as many apples as one can pick. It’s a great deal because you can fill a pickup truck with the orchard remains and make a ton of applesauce.

Some local blueberry farmers let people pick the leftovers before the frost or in dormant fields for free. If you want to know, be sure to ask about their pesticide applications. Or, better yet, find an organic grower, especially for blueberries.

And remember, always ask first and pick second.

Craig Idlebrook
Ellsworth, Maine








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