hood river: or, how i spent the day in a crazy beautiful orchard harvesting tons (literally!) of organic pears

pear harvesting was so much fun!!! even better than i expected it would be. gorgeous day, good people, and an all around excellent project. i really can't say enough good things about the portland fruit tree project, and if you're in portland i highly recommend you check them out. the basic premise is this: PFTP works with people in and around portland who have fruit trees that they either aren't going to harvest, or just have too much fruit to use themselves. groups of volunteers get together and harvest the fruit, which is then split between the volunteers and local food banks. simple, smart, and beneficial for everyone involved. lest you think that this is just some small time operation, last year, PFTP harvested a total of 15,000 pounds of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste.
yesterday's harvest was really extra special, as PFTP was granted access to an entire d'anjou pear orchard in hood river. (harvest parties are usually just in people's back yards here in town.) there were around 40 volunteers, and we picked a total of about 4,000 pounds of pears from 50 trees. not too bad for about 4 hours of work.
we all got to bring home as much fruit as we wanted, and i can't wait to get to preserving, baking, and sharing. i feel super lucky to have been able to experience such an awesome day. extra thanks to my pal michelle for nudging me to come along with her. (and driving. and the drinking of post-harvest cocktails...)
now, what should we make with all these pears???

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