Gleaning for the Greater Good

Have you noticed that the corn stalks have gone from their typical vibrant green to a more yellowish brown color? Do you think that the pumpkin patches are starting to look a little sparse? Well, have no fear—the Boulder County gleaners are here!

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Have extra fall produce of your own? Try out a new recipe, like this vegan and gluten-free squash soup!

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions
Prick each squash half several times with a fork and lightly coat with the extra 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake cut-side down at 375 degrees until very tender, 45-60 minutes. Once cooled, scoop the flesh into a bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick pan on medium-low heat, add the remaining oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, apple, and pepper, and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.

Using a food processor, puree the squash, sautéed vegetables, and stock in batches until smooth.

Transfer to a large saucepan and reheat on low, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite toppings, such as pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sour cream, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and a slice of toasted bread.

This recipe is very adaptable! Feel free to substitute other herbs and spices in place of the ginger for unlimited options.

Recipe by Evangelynn Fortuna

In the past couple of years, volunteers have participated in a new and meaningful way to donate their time through a project called “gleaning.” Historically, this term was used in the Celtic language to describe the time after the first grain harvest when farmers would send people back out to gather any leftover grain; this became known as gleaning. The gleaning projects that Boulder County Parks and Open Space host are not all that different from those historic roots.

Gleaning Step by Step

First, we gather volunteers and take them to a property leased by a farmer from Boulder County Parks and Open Space. In 2016, organic farmer Dave Asbury allowed his crops to be gleaned by volunteers. These volunteer projects occur after the farmer has harvested everything they want from the field. Typically there is a lot of perfectly good produce left behind. This is where the gleaners come in.

Next, gleaners grab their bins and are ready to collect that left over produce. They make sure that each piece collected is food they would serve at their own table, and then they put it in a large collection bin. After they have gleaned what they can from the fields, the food is taken to Community Food Share in Louisville.

Community Food Share collects food from generous donors throughout the area, then sorts, stores, and distributes the food to those in need. A percentage of the food is made available to individual families struggling to buy their own food, and another portion of the food goes to organizations such as homeless shelters and nursing homes. A study in 2014 concluded that Community Food Share assisted 78,200 individual clients with feeding their families. They collect a variety of foods including the fresh produce that Boulder County volunteers collected, as well as canned foods, pasta and pasta sauce, juices, and much more.

This type of volunteer work is both fun and rewarding. The food that our volunteers collect goes to help those in need, which helps to make the Boulder County community a better place. Last year, the department collected over 5,000 pounds of produce to donate to Community Food Share. Let’s see if we can do even better in 2017!

Volunteer

Want to take part in a gleaning project? Visit our website to learn about upcoming gleaning projects scheduled in October.