Chuck alongside two gleaners on his first glean back since COVID hit in March of this year. Photo by the wonderful Carolyn Eicher!

Here we are in mid-July already! It feels like March- and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US- was forever ago… But this month seems like a big milestone for us. With the return of our long time driver/ harvest leader Chuck(and we are SO glad to have him back!), we have now resumed all of our usual activity and program staff, albeit with plenty of new safety protocols.

To give you an idea of the how our operations have ebbed and flowed during pandemic times, here’s a little break down of our harvest stats from before the pandemic hit up until today:

February 2020: 32,861 lbs harvested

March 2020: 7,235 lbs harvested

April 2020: 25,069 lbs harvested

May 2020: 7,749 lbs harvested

June 2020: 8,171 lbs harvested

July 2020(so far): 3,938 lbs harvested

In comparison to previous years numbers, we’re much lower than average in terms of total weight. A lot of the ebb of food donations came from lack of harvest activity at the beginning of the the pandemic when we were working to develop new safety protocols before re-entering the field. At this point, we can attribute this to a lack of excess from our usual commercial-scale donors, who have seen a large increase in demand for local produce since the pandemic hit. One of our regular donors mentioned that their CSA program has tripled since COVID-19! This is a great problem to have, really; we’re harvesting less because there is more demand for local food!

That being said, we’ve been plenty busy with backyard harvests during stone fruit season. When we’re not harvesting, we’re planning for the future of our program, creating connections with other large-scale growers, and expanding our program in some new and exciting ways! More info on that soon…