Saturday, 25 August 2012
Gleaning from the past
Contractors were harvesting potatoes in the field next to us yesterday and as is usually the case a lot of potatoes were missed by the machinery. I reckon that enough were left on the ground to feed the entire village for the year - if anyone could be bothered to pick them up. I grow my grow my own potatoes and don't really need any more but I spent 5 minutes picking up a large bag load from just a few metres inside the entrance to the field. I tried offering them to other people but no one wanted them and were certainly not prepared to pick up some themselves. I got the distinct impression that they were only comfortable with food that had been 'authenticated' by being sold by a supermarket - and I can understand why people are rightly concerned about what they eat.
Not so long ago, gleaning was an important privilege for country people and people depended on gleaned food for the winter. I suppose it is good that people are now so wealthy that they don't need to worry about paying for food but is still seems a shame to see so much food go to waste. I wonder how long it will be before rising fuel and fertiliser costs leads to people keeping an eye open for gleaning opportunities once again.
The potatoes rapidly went green in the bright sun and most are now too poisonous to eat.