by Marsha Miller
Apple picking, here in New England, is like breathing – it’s just something you do. Come September, I always look forward to making a trek to a farm to pick apples, and purchase kettle corn and cider.
On Oct. 22, the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Boston partnered with Community Harvest Project, a non-profit farm that grows fruits and vegetables, to pick apples for individuals experiencing hunger.
Community Harvest believes: “Members of our community who experience hunger are also more likely to have limited access to healthy foods.” This limited access to healthy foods can contribute to obesity, higher instances of diet-related diseases, and an unhealthy diet.
Partnering with Community Harvest was such a rewarding experience as we focused on helping those in need with good healthy food. Besides, what could be better than partnering with this type of organization that allows you the opportunity to not only go apple picking but pick apples for a cause? It’s a win-win.
When our volunteer group arrived at the farm, we were greeted by Renata Aylward, volunteer program assistant. We received instruction by Katerina Matjucha, orchard assistant, on how to properly pick the apples, use fruit bags, and sort and bag the apples.
Each person received sturdy canvas satchels to collect the apples. These rectangular bags reminded me of long pillowcases, not just any old ordinary satchel. No, these bags had bottoms that were not stitched closed. To close the bags, you take ropes attached to the bottom ends of the bag and tie them to the ropes attached to the sides of the bag. It creates a folded bag with a secure bottom. It was then easy to release the apples into the bins located throughout the orchard by untying the ropes and gently letting the apples roll out into the bins.
We picked 3,200 pounds of apples and sorted and packed over a thousand pounds of apples that day. It is SMPS Boston’s intention to participate in the Community Harvest Project next fall and hopefully develop a longstanding relationship with the farm. We hope you will take the time to join us for such a fun and worthy cause.
Marsha Miller, Assoc. AIA is director of client relations at Vanderweil Engineers and director of outreach at SMPS Boston.