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Foraging for apples and pears

On September 24th, we received a phone call at Angelic Organics Roots & Wings office from someone wondering if our organization was interested in harvesting some organically grown apples and pears. The call was given to me and the warm voice on the other end belonged to Joan Sabin of Rockton, Illinois. I responded with a resounding “YES!”

Right away I sprung into action and went out the next day to Joan’s lovely home to assess the situation. Joan met me in her driveway and we hit it off immediately. She shared with me the many things she makes every year from her fruit trees: jelly and jams, drying them for future use, and donating some to a local organization.

In addition to the apple (Red Delicious and another she described as an “old time” apple) and pear (Bartlett) trees, a cherry tree and a grapevine also grow on her property. She invited us to join her next summer to forage for cherries.

Excited, and with my tummy full, I returned from Joan’s home with samples of fruit to share with the staff. “Good!” “Delicious!” and “YES!” were the overwhelming responses from the team.

The next week, several partners from the Blackhawk community joined me to head out to Joan’s place. It was a beautiful, sunny day - we could not ask for better weather. Upon arriving, Joan and her husband, William, welcomed the crew to her home, and, after introductions, we quickly sprang into action.

With ladders in place, fruit picking tools assembled, and containers waiting to be filled, the team went to work. The first objective was to pick the fruit from the lower branches first while trying to avoid the drunken bees that were ravishing the ripe, fallen fruit. As we picked, the following could be overheard: “Here is one over here.” “There is a big one!”  “I see the perfect one up there shining in the sun.” Some of us couldn’t keep from stuffing our stomachs as we picked.  After an hour and half of picking, we had reached our limit.

As we departed, we spent some time with Joan reminiscing about her family and how they used to raise horses on her property. We informed Joan that many of the apples were going to be used at our year-end Harvest Celebration to make pies to go along with other food for this event. Joan was kind enough to donate $25.00 dollars towards this event. We kindly thanked her for her thoughtfulness and hospitality.

On the way home, everyone was thinking about the delicious fruit and reflecting on what a wonderful day it had been. The majority of the apples were turned into yummy apple pies and the rest was sold at the Blackhawk Courts farm stand. With much anticipation, we look forward to seeing Joan next year. Thank you, Joan and William, for your generosity.

By Tedd Snowden, Market Manager