Gleaning and the Seconds Market
By Ingrid Gallagher
If you happen to visit the Farmers’ Market close to the end of the day, you may see former Market Manager Oakes Plimpton and a crew of volunteers busily loading boxes of leftover produce into vans and trucks. They’re not planning on cooking up a record-size batch of minestrone or stir fry. They’re “gleaning” fruits and vegetables that would otherwise to go to waste and distributing them to a Seconds Market set up at a nearby public housing location. Residents there can buy large bags of healthy and delicious food for just $2.
Oakes established Boston Area Gleaners in 2004, and today it has a growing pool of volunteers who do everything from harvesting left-over produce from local farms to distributing produce to food pantries and shelters. Gleaning is an ancient practice of gathering food from fields after they’ve been officially harvested. Often this food has been missed by harvest equipment or is slightly imperfect. While not commercially viable, these gleanings are still delicious and nutritious and provide under-served individuals and families with excellent seasonal food at very low or no-cost. Last year, B.A.G. volunteers delivered approximately 23,500 pounds of produce to food pantries and shelters. If you’re interested in learning more, go to www.bostonareagleaners.org.
The Arlington Farmers’ Market
has a new manager this 2009 season – Patsy Kraemer.
Oakes Plimpton retired last year after founding the market in 1997 and then leading the Arlington Farmers’ Market for 11 years. Oakes will continue to serve on the Steering Committee for the Market and will continue to work on his gleaning business.
Patsy hails from a farm background, having grown up in a small farm town in Kansas - Marysville. Her mother’s family has a long history of farming in Kansas. Patsy is an active gardener herself, keeping an herb and vegetable garden, as well as many flower beds at her home here in Arlington. She is the current president of the Arlington Garden Club.
Patsy’s professional background is social work. She worked for the town of Arlington for 36 years, serving as director of a counseling program - the Arlington Youth Consultation Center – and then as Director of Human Services. She retired in 2006 from that work; now she continues to work for the town as Event Coordinator, managing events at the historical Arlington Town Hall and the Whittemore Robbins House mansion.
Patsy is married to Chuck Kraemer and they have two daughters – one who is a teacher in Brookline and one who is an international social worker currently living in Mexico City.
Stop by the Manager’s Table to say hello!