After a summer that included picking apples, chokecherries and vegetables for Fruit Share as well as strawberries and pears and apples and cherries on my own time, I had reconciled myself to the fact that it was over.
No more time up in trees, arms over my head. No more frantic processing of ripe/over-ripe fruit.
But then Fruit Share sent out one last call for volunteers.
One of the picks was for frost-sweetened Concord grapes.
How could I resist? Even though I don't love grape jelly, I really wanted to spend a bit more time up on a ladder.
So I spent two hours on a stepladder this past weekend, pulling down perfect handfuls of grapes from a homemade arbour made out of pipes and wire. While wearing a toque and scarf and wishing for more tea.
This was the year of ever-so-slightly confused picks. Where I was the only volunteer that showed up, despite the fact that three or four people had signed up. Where I stopped getting Fruit Share emails. (Ack!)
But that's an almost inevitable outcome, given that Fruit Share consists on hundreds of volunteer pickers and owners-of-fruit. That those hundreds of people are organized by one paid individual and a handful of dedicated volunteers.
This is my third summer with Fruit Share. And I dearly love it, even if I sometimes get tired of having my hands simultaneously wet and prickly post-pick.
The other volunteer on this pick is a Mennonite engineer who recently built himself an apple press. He's going to make wine, so I gave him the lion's share of the grapes. I've made a couple of batches of juice, a few trays of fruit leather, and will likely do jelly yet, even just to give away as gifts.