January Fresh Juice!

First off, we’d like to wish our whole fruit family a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. As we complete our fourth year of harvesting for the hungry across Southern California, we feel an incredible amount of gratitude for the volunteers, fruitanthropists, and other supporters who have allowed us to recover and donate over 530,000 lbs of fresh local produce in 2012 alone!  This food has helped communities struggling with homelessness, poverty, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and many other issues.  We feel grateful for being able to help pass on the abundance we have in our everyday lives to those in need.

If you appreciate what we do but haven’t made a tax-deductibledonation yet to our end-of-year GO OUT ON A LIMB campaign – we are in our final days of the campaign and really hope you will consider us in your year-end giving.  It’s the one time we come down from the trees and count on you for your support. For the third year in a row we have a generous $10,000 match grant from The Plum Foundation, which means through New Years your contribution is worth double to us! For those of you who sent in donations already, or purchased a gift crate – we THANK YOU from the bottom of our juicy little hearts!

In between the much-needed recent storms, you may have been noticing the pop of orange against blue skies.  Fruitland is on the verge of another outstanding citrus season, which we expect to take full advantage of.  We are continuing our Fruit of the Month by celebrating the navel orange!  Read more about this amazing fruit on our blog.  Stay tuned for navel picking events in January by visiting our events page.

We will kick things off this new year with our annual tradition of FRUITSTOCK on January 5th & 6th. For the past 4 years, we have gleaned at amazing properties in Goleta, just a mile from the Pacific, harvesting tens of thousands of pounds of fruit from huge mandarin groves– some of the EASIEST FAMILY FRIENDLY picking of the year. It’s a great opportunity for groups to come out, harvest for a few hours or all day, and then join us for a potluck in fine Food Forward fashion in near-by Montecito.  (You may even choose to bring friends and camp out in Montecito as well and pick for a second day.)

This coming year will not only see the expansion of our Farmers Market Recovery Program (email fmrecovery@foodforward.org for more details or to become part of The Glean Team), but the expansion of our harvesting work in San Gabriel Valley.  We have an incredible team and look forward to unleashing into SGV’s orchards and backyards. We start 2013 with the final Huntington Gardens’ harvest for a few months – where we have harvested over 32,698 lbs. to date.  We will have several gleaning events in San Gabriel Valley every month. Should you be interested in being more involved as a Property Scout, Pick Leader or in some other way please email us atvolunteer@foodforward.org.

Lastly, due to the way the holidays intersected our normal scheduling and scouting in late December you will notice fewer picks in this edition of Fresh Juice.  STAY TUNED as many more picks are announced on our Events page as the month rolls out and we start swinging from trees – all in service of feeding the hungry.

Hope to see you up in the tree!

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