Food Forward Blog
15 Uses For A Split Grapefruit

We are lucky to have a guest blog entry by a fantastic Pick Leader, Tessa Lucero, who offers tips on how to use all of those split grapefruit! Read on for 14 great uses (and 1 silly one!). What is your favorite grapefruit recipe?


15 Uses For A Split Grapefruit by Tessa Lucero

Grapefruit: the zucchini of the citrus world.

Don’t get me wrong. Grapefruit are delicious. And they are easy to pick and they fill a box very quickly. Many of them are big, most are juicy and succulent.

But the average grapefruit tree just produces so MANY of them. Grapefruit tree owners, you know this. You pick them. You eat them. You give grapefruit to your neighbors (who may also have grapefruit trees) whenever you see them. You bring a bagful into work and press grapefruit on your coworkers, at least the ones who aren’t on medication that means grapefruit is a No-No. You put grapefruit out at coffee hour at church for everyone to enjoy. You juice them and freeze the juice. You make drinks from the juice. It’s like that memorable summer when you bought the six-pack of zucchini plants and they all survived and thrived and bore copious amounts of squash. People run when they see you with a bulging shopping bag.

And still they keep coming, those big golden orbs hanging on the tree, the ones that multiply even as you look at them.

And if they fall off the tree, they split.

When you go out to pick them, you pick one, another two fall on the ground. And they split.

The good volunteers of Food Forward come to harvest the tree. They get 15 boxes of lovely ripe grapefruit for the food pantry. They knock some grapefruit off the tree while picking is going on. And they split.

So the food pantry gets the grapefruit, your green bin runneth over, and there’s a leftover box of split grapefruit that someone takes home to deal with because it’s such a waste to throw them away.

What can you do with split grapefruit? Or surplus grapefruit?

Marmalade. Grapefruit makes excellent marmalade, and the recipe couldn’t be simpler. Wash the grapefruit. Take the zest off the grapefruit with a fruit peeler and put it in a bowl. Pull the fruit open, remove all the pulp and juice, and put it in the bowl with the zest. Put it in the food processor and process it a bit to make the pieces of zest smaller and break up the sections. Put the bowl on the scale and zero it out, then put the processed grapefruit back into the bowl. Note the weight. Put the grapefruit into a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the same amount of sugar, by weight, and cook over medium high heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly. It will come to a boil, turn a rich dark gold color, and set up nicely – grapefruit has a lot of pectin in it so you don’t need any special additives. When it’s thickened to the texture that you like your marmalade, turn the heat off. Either seal it in small jars or put it in a container in the refrigerator, either way it’s good. With the marmalade you can make:

Marmalade Bars
Marmalade Cake (the NY Times has a great recipe)
Marmalade Muffins

Or just give the jars of marmalade as gifts. California sunshine in a jar!

If you don’t want to make marmalade, try:

Grapefruit Poppyseed Cake
Grapefruit Bars
Grapefruit Upsidedown Cake
Grapefruit Meringue Pie
Grapefruit Sorbet
Grapefruit Ceviche
Grapefruit Salsa
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Roasted Grapefruit


You won’t throw out the split grapefruit again!

Wait, you say. That’s only 14 uses?

Well…the 15th use depends partly on the state of your throwing arm. If there’s a squirrel trying to steal something from your garden, a well-aimed grapefruit is unlikely to do any permanent damage but he’ll think again before going after your bird feeder or your apricots.*

*Food Forward does not promote the use of citrus to harm animals or any living creatures.

Read More: Posted in Food, Food Preservation, Urban Fruit Gleaning
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Volunteer of the Month: Ian Halsema!


Say hello to our June Volunteer of the Month: Ian Halsema! We first met Ian back in 2013 when he became a regular volunteer at our Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Market Gleans. He soon trained as a Glean Team Leader at that very same market and has been one of our most reliable volunteers ever since. Ian never hesitates to lend a hand when we are in need and he is incredibly thorough in his work, which is crucial when leading at one of the busiest markets in our Farmers Market Recovery Program! He is not only dedicated to Food Forward’s work but also volunteers regularly with VA and Habitat for Humanity. We don’t know where he finds the time to do all of this good work but we sure are glad he’s a part of the Food Forward family! Read more about this fantastic volunteer below.

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?  

A little over 2 years ago I was casting about for something to do that would get me out into sunshine, help the community, give me contact with others, and exercise. Food Forward was perfect in every respect.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

I volunteer as a driver for the VA several days each week, transporting disabled veterans to and from their medical appointments in Westwood, and I volunteer with Habitat for Humanity doing electrical work several times per year.

What is your favorite memory working with Food Forward?

The farmers at the Famers Market are the best people, and they reinforce my faith in humanity.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

If someone tells you “hard work never killed anyone,” don’t believe it!  My longevity has improved since I retired!

IanHalsemaVOM-2Ian (far right) with a volunteer team at the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesday.


Read More: Posted in Farmers Market, Farmers Market Recovery, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Hunger
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Faces of Food Forward: A Place Called Home

One of the first things you notice upon walking through the doors of A Place Called Home (APCH) is the color and warmth of the environment. It is a place that pulses with life and is full of people who love what they do.

A Place Called Home has been a youth-based, non-profit agency since 1993, providing after school and weekend programs that enrich the youth around its South Central location. APCH began in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and Civil Unrest, events that made the need for an organization like APCH even more apparent, and have been helping the community grow stronger – literally and figuratively – ever since.

APCH states: “We offer nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit.” At the center of this approach are on-site programs and partnership initiatives including an organic fruit and vegetable garden where members get in touch with nature and grow healthy, fresh food. There is also meal preparation for children under 18 and grocery distribution to many of the low-income families who come through APCH’s doors.

We had the pleasure of visiting with students who belong to the Junior Chef Program. This program is geared towards elementary and middle school age students who want to learn the basics of working in a kitchen and preparing healthy meals from scratch. These students attend a weekly Junior Chef class and help to serve daily meals to all APCH members.


Bella says: “I like working in the kitchen because it gives kids new experiences. It’s fun because the kitchen is big and it has things we don’t have at home. I like the lasagna.”

This is where Food Forward enters the picture. Since August 2013, through our Farmers Market Recovery Program, we have donated weekly allotments of fresh produce to APCH. In this short time, these donations total close to a quarter of a million servings!

APCH volunteers currently pick up produce at the Brentwood and Studio City Farmers Markets each week and put all of the wonderful food to use, whether they are juicy oranges or more challenging ingredients like kale or chard. Greens like these often become part of the 4-5,000 fresh cooked meals coming out of their modestly-sized but heavily-used kitchen every single month. In some cases, these meals are the only complete meal APCH members have all day.


Jonathan enjoys lunch: “I like being in the kitchen because you can learn new recipes and if your mom isn’t there you can bake or cook something yourself. I like when other people try what I make”

Beyond overseeing the garden, participants of the Junior Chef program are given the specific responsibility to cook for and serve their peers, which earns them practical experience with ingredients, kitchen equipment, health and nutrition and food safety practices.


Yoselin (right, in green shirt) says: “I like the garden because then you can take care of living things…. I also like to cook. I like the kitchen because all the food is fresh. [Food Forward] gives us food that is healthy.” 

This program provides a lovely symmetry of kids cooking for kids – with just enough adult supervision. The day we visited it was great to see not only the preparation of healthy rice bowls that incorporated Food Forward’s freshly gleaned greens, but also children being adventuresome enough to try anything their peers brought out from the kitchen.

Additionally, APCH teaches youth and parents to prepare meals at home that are economical, nutritious and flavorful. A change in eating habits can help to reduce risk for diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems and has the positive impact of improving attention and engagement at school.


Without Food Forward’s weekly donations of hundreds of pounds of mixed produce and the occasional drop of grade A citrus from our Backyard Harvest Program, A Place Called Home would have to redirect tens of thousands of dollars from its budget, sacrificing other essential services they offer or, simply, do without.

Summing it up perfectly Chef Jorge Caughman, APCH Nutrition Supervisor, says: “Food Forwards produce donations substantially increase the daily availability of fresh produce to APCH members and their families. Our budget has its limitations and without these fruit and vegetable donations we would not be able to create healthy lunches from scratch for over 300 members daily.”

It’s easy to see why it’s named A Place Called Home.

Read More: Posted in Community Action, Farmers Market, Farmers Market Recovery, Food, Food Education, Urban Hunger, Vegetable, Volunteer Organization
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Volunteer of the Month: Judith Selby!


Meet our May Volunteer of the Month: Judith Selby! Judith and her family became harvesting trailblazers in the San Gabriel Valley by founding Fruit For All, a family focused citrus gleaning organization that began its work in 2010. When her sons went off to college, Fruit For All joined forces with Food Forward and Judith became one of our most active Pick Leaders. Just this year, she has led 21 harvests which yielded 9,117 pounds of donated fruit. Judith and her husband Brad have been instrumental to Food Forward’s expansion into the San Gabriel Valley and offer generous support to staff and volunteers alike in blossoming Food Forward’s backyard harvest program in the area. Judith has a true passion for feeding those in need in her community and delivers fresh citrus from her picks to Foothill Unity in Monrovia as often as she can. She is a wealth of fruit tree and gardening information and shares it with all who are interested. Her warmth is infectious and her dedication is inspiring, and we are so grateful to have Judith in the Food Forward family. Read more about this SUPER volunteer below!

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?

When my boys were in high school, our family started a backyard harvest group in the San Gabriel Valley called Fruit For All; with the help of our friends, we picked 100,000 pounds in our first 2 1/2 years. The boys and their friends were my workforce, so when they went off to college, we hitched our wagon to Food Forward. It was a perfect match; we both had the same goals, and Food Forward was able to give me the volunteers and support I needed to keep picking fruit for all of the Fruit For All families.  Today, we’re building the San Gabriel Valley branch of Food Forward.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

When I’m not picking fruit, I’m probably in my own garden, tending my trees and harvesting my own fruit. A couple of years ago, I jumped on the save-every-drop-of-water bandwagon, including a catchment system for the water that runs off of my driveway. Now, if it would only rain so I can test my system! I truly believe every person can make a difference if they stop and think about their actions.

What is your favorite memory working with Food Forward?

I can’t think of a favorite memory, but I can tell you that I look forward to each pick, waiting to meet a new friend or welcome an old friend. It’s a wonderful feeling to build a community.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

Everything looks better with Christmas lights. We can recreate the world each day by how we act in it. We can dress it up or we can dress it down. Optimism or pessimism, we choose. So, put on the lights.

Read More: Posted in Backyard Harvest, Community Action, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Fruit Gleaning, Urban Hunger
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Volunteer of the Month: Ralph Peschek!

Meet our April Volunteer of the Month, Glean Team Leader all-star Ralph Peschek! Ralph started leading at the Hollywood Farmers Market in spring of 2014 and was instrumental in the launch of our Farmers Market Recovery Program at the Pasadena Farmers Market. As an employee of a local school district, Ralph works to ensure food insecure students have access to healthy food, which is what brought him to Food Forward. Now, as a Farmers Market Glean Team Leader, Ralph inspires other volunteers by being an amazing ambassador of produce recovery! He is incredibly welcoming to the many volunteers that help out at the markets, and explains the gleaning process and work of Food Forward like a complete pro. Ralph has also become such a staple at the markets that he has cultivated wonderful relationships with the vendors, who are always happy to donate their lovely produce when they see him. Thanks, Ralph – you are a HUGE part of our Food Forward family!

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?

I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer  with an organization that worked with getting resources to those who needed them. We have such an abundance of food that goes to waste each day in the United States. I had instituted a food donation program in my local school district to assure leftovers were shared with community feeding organizations to reduce food waste. When I heard about Food Forward and its mission, I knew that it was a great fit for me.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

Currently, my team is working with our community partners  to increase visibility and outreach to children at risk during summer months when they are out of school. Many families in CA live at or below the poverty level. Their children rely on school meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Supper) as their primary source of nutritious food. In summer months, when school is out, those meals go away. There are options in the community in the summer, and we are working hard to encourage more families and children to access free meal programs when school is out by developing outreach and social media campaigns that target these at risk students.

What is your favorite memory working with Food Forward?

I’m not sure I have one. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with some amazing volunteers over the past two years. They all come to Food Forward for different reasons.  But, as you talk with each new volunteer, you learn that at some level they all come with a passion to serve.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

Mame Dennis – “Live! Live! Live!  Life’s a banquet! And most poor suckers are starving to death.”

Ralph (far right) with a team of volunteers at the Pasadena Farmers Market
Read More: Posted in Community Action, Farmers Market, Farmers Market Recovery, Food, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Hunger, Vegetable, Volunteer Organization
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