Fresh Facts Week 40: Charity Begins at Home

 Uncle Vern’s Weekly Farm-Fueled Musings, May 26–June 1, 2014

Fruit was a little slow—we call it a gap—last week, so Paul, Brad, and I took a little day hike into the Tule and Kern River watersheds. It’s amazing how different the same Sierras are just 75 miles south, yet once again how quickly a pick up and some hiking poles can take some old buddies into completely different ancient worlds. The mountains had taken a shower the night before, so they smelled all fresh and looked refreshed.

One old Giant Sequoia seemed to be sayin’: “I’ve been standing on this mountain since before the battle of Carthage, had snow piled 50 feet up the side of my trunk some years and barely a foot others. I’m not too concerned about the price of peaches or who won the Super Bowl; but that was sure a nice little rain we had last night wasn’t it? Why don’t you stop for a bit, lean back against me and re-calibrate what’s important pilgrim?”

Yes indeed, why don’t we stop for a bit more often to think about what’s really important…

Mount Whitney’s the focal point on the horizon in that part of the world. If you’re thinking of climbing her—just to say you did—she’s gonna need another month to melt off, I’d say. No hurry, she’ll be there waiting—just like the Sequoias.

This fruit gap kinda signals the move from extra early to early. Size will pick up a click, pits will become more solid and the whole deal becomes a little more predictably stable. By mid-June we’ll have varieties you can hang your hat on.

Hey, a word on charity: it begins at home. Okay, that’s 4 words but you get the idea. I should have said a thought on charity: it begins at home. Of course there’s the “earn and give” model of charity, which is clean and sanitary, supporting good things around the world. Then there’s the “work” model where you directly give your time and literally hands-on-know the difference you’re making. None of our effective charities could get much done without caring volunteers.

The model we like is “work as charity,” where we analyze everything we’re doing with the question: how could this activity be done in a way that brings maximum good to our world?

You are already paying for our truck to come to your town when you subscribe to AHO, for instance. Why not help the feeding charity in your town get some fruit on their menu?

If it’s for a non-profit, us farmers are down for gifting processor grade (still good fruit with various blemishes) to improve people’s lives. It costs us a dime to sort it, so 3 bucks gets 30 pounds to your town. That’s some real bang baby!

There’s a few rules of course: order in advance, bring the box back, pick-up at an existing site. We send a bill at the end of the month.

Maybe you volunteer to throw some boxes in the minivan and haul ’em across town; you’ve gotta pick up your box anyhow so teach the kids some hands on charity as they help you carry the fruit in and the empties out. I guarantee there’ll be a lot less, “Mom, Billy’s annoying me!” from the back seat on the way home, and a lot more gratitude for what’s in their box.

Work as charity. I’ll bet there’s a bunch of other ways what’s really important could come out of the important stuff we’re already doing if we took the time to lean against a tree and think about it.

Author AHO Kitchen Team

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