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Minnesota Harvest

November 10, 2012

Back on June 14, I had a chance to meet with Kevin Breeggemann for 45 minutes at the site of this 43,000 tree orchard near Jordan, MN and get the whole story of Minnesota Harvest.  He said at the time that they might have as many as 100 boxes of apples for us come harvest time because they didn’t have their cider press up and running.  As with other orchards, I keep in touch with a note or call throughout the summer.  Once the early apples started coming, and the crowds were flocking on weekends in late August, the bins of first and seconds started filling up.

“Not only is the work we do meaningful for us, it has been, I think, meaningful for the orchard owners.  For donors, the relational part is as important as the giving.  In that sense, it is a privilege to walk with them in their work and their lives.”  – Bill Hughes

By Sept. 4, after some calls during the State Fair when I began tracking with Kevin’s brother Fred, we had a chance to come and glean seconds from a bin.  It was amazing work.  Within 2 hours, we had 50 boxes filled.  But from there and for the next 3 weeks, we were on hold as Fred said that the later apples were better for cider and they hoped to market them as such.  I would call weekly for an update, just in case they would have an overflow.  As the harvest began to reach a peak, and sales for cider apples were hit and miss, another morning call to Fred proved fruitful as did subsequent calls.   After six visits, Minnesota Harvest had donated over 10,000 pounds to MN food shelves.  In the process, we built a pretty special relationship with Fred and the warehouse supervisor Cornelius – to the point where we chatted about more than apples – with Fred about life and his family and small farm and with Cornelius about how they take care of the orchard in the off season, pruning and spraying.

In the orchard,

Photo: Cornelius and Bill next to a car full of Minnesota Harvest apples. 

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