It’s hard to express how gratifying a day yesterday was.

To think that in barely two weeks we were able to mobilize a small army of volunteers to drive almost 90 minutes to pick nearly 5,000 pounds of fresh oranges was an astounding attribute to the passion and commitment to Food Forward volunteers.

Bravo crew – to our regulars, to the newbies, to the MEND crew, to Erica and Cpt. Carl for their help, leadership and good cheer, to Jim Roehrig and Backyard Bounty for hosting us. (Least we forget thanks to the Jackson family for we;coming us to their incredible 330 acres estate.) The wonderful local Italian restaurant Via Vai donated a huge stack of gourmet pizzas which kept many of us going all day.

Where getting away from the fires and LA heat was great, the spirit of working hard, getting dirty and then gathering after for an invigorating dip in the Pacific, and a lovingly prepared BBQ made the trek very worthwhile. Though all the food was great, among the stand outs were the official premiere of Mixologist Steve’s Grapefruit Forward, Rich’s Creole Pulled Beef and coconut and rum soaked/grilled pineapple and finally Kiss My Bundt’s chocolate cake.

But beyond this, the spirit of the day really resonated on many levels – new friendships and collaborations solidified and great sense of service and then celebration for work well done. Hopefully some of this will show in our pix and those the that LA Times photographer Stefano captured for their upcoming article (Sept 9th we are told.)

For those of you who couldn’t make it , if I didn’t know better, something tells me a pre-Labor Day tradition may have been born.

Day 2 – Baggin and busted butt at the Berney Ranch…is just now wrapping – report to follow

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