Friday, November 25, 2011

Adventures in Harvesting with Mike Parelskin, Harvesting and Food Preservation Coordinator

With my cup of coffee drained, I hooked up the trailer to my bicycle, wheeled my tiny wagon train through the front door and headed to work. With a hot lead on a pomegranate tree from Barbara, permission granted by the owner, and a picker in tow, I was ready to harvest!

I pedaled northeast navigating across town and eventually made my way to the wonderful Winterhaven neighborhood, where I found the tree shimmering in a light breeze. It was in the middle of a patch of grass growing so green I had to squint to be sure I wasn't having hallucinations of a desert oasis. Softball-sized fruits glowing bright red, like ornaments on a Christmas tree, dangled delicately looking delicious as leaned my bicycle carefully against a fencepost.

I attacked the tree with vigor akin to a kitten and efficiency similar to that of a kindergartener working on a 1,000-piece puzzle. The branches were sharp and every other fruit was either just far enough away that I needed the picker, or just close enough that I had to drop the picker and wrangle the fruit off the branch by hand. Alright, I'm new to this I admit. Next I decided to take a methodical approach; I worked my way around the tree, pulling off a gaggle of pomegranates within arm's reach, and then switched to the picker for the more elusive ones. Then I crawled underneath the low branches into the shade and picked the hard-to-see fruit from the inside out. After a few rounds of this and a few hours, I had harvested close to 100 lbs of big, juicy, sweet pomegranates!

The only problem: my bike trailer's weight limit is 75 lbs. Well, I thought, I have to get this fruit to the office somehow. I loaded my trailer to the brim, fastened my helmet securely, and cautiously eased my bicycle into the street. It felt very heavy. Kerplunk! My bicycle and trailer tipped over and the pomegranates rolled every which way like Iskashitaa volunteers at an apple harvest. A few choice words escaped like the fruit from my trailer. I pushed my bike back up with a considerable effort, moved it to the fencepost to pick up the scattered pomegranates and reloaded it for a second try. This time I successfully worked my way up to speed and slowly made it back to the office.

Limes & Pomegranates
Local Limes & Pomegranates

If you would like to join me for an exciting harvest like this one, by bike or car, let me know! Email me at

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