By a gleaning host in Bowerham
We first heard of gleaning in 2020 and asked Eggcup for help with our apple harvest. We have 3 apple trees in our garden in Bowerham, and even though they are very old trees they are still very productive.
We’ve been hosting apple gleans for the last few years, and always had a great experience. The gleaning group is led by Jay from Eggcup and the Closing Loops project. They arrive with all the equipment they need, like step ladders, telescopic apple pickers and lots of empty crates, and set to. Some volunteers stay an hour, some stay two or longer.
Last year they gathered a whopping 132kg in about three hours which were then taken to Eggcup and used to make pies, crumbles and juice. This year our neighbours also benefited from the gleaners collecting their apples.
I like to make the gleaners feel welcome and taken good care of, so for the last glean in September this year, I baked a Gleaners’ Cake for them. The recipe is quite simple:
- Soak 1kg of mixed dried fruits in 500ml orange juice for eight hours or overnight.
- Mix in 250g self-raising flour and 1-2 teaspoons of mixed spice.
- Scoop the dough into two 1-pound loaf tins and bake at 150°C for 1-1.5 hours.
- Once cool, store in an airtight container.
We find the arrangement of hosting the gleaners very useful because we just could not pick nor use the amount of apples produced by our trees. So we win, Eggcup wins and the Eggcup members who get to eat the apples and products made from them win. We look forward to continuing to host gleans in coming years.
Closing Loops Gleaning Coordinator Jay Godden is employed by Eggcup and runs the gleaning events for the North Lancashire Gleaning Network. He says, “Our gleaning events are always great fun for the volunteers that come along to help. The groups are usually a great mix of people of all ages, we even had a small dog joining us at the glean in Bowerham. The work is not too hard and it is very rewarding seeing the crates of apples we rescued at the end of just a few hours, and knowing they will be put to good use through Eggcup’s distribution network. New gleaners are always welcome, so I encourage anyone interested in spending some fun and active time outdoors to sign up with the gleaning network.”
Closing Loops is a five-year National Lottery funded project working across Lancaster District to support creating systems that reduce waste and create a circular, regenerative local economy.
If you would like to join gleans as a volunteer with the North Lancashire Gleaning Network, or host gleaning events in your garden, orchard or farm, please get in touch with Jay on jay_CL@eggcup.org or take a look at www.foodfutures.org.uk/share-the-harvest.