A friend whose mom lives in Springfield, Mo. just brought me a bag of pears. They had fallen from her mother's tree and she regularly shares them with people she knows will be glad to have them.
I don't know if there are Any fruit trees in bigger cities, like St. Louis or KC. Probably not. But there are still plenty in Springfield, Joplin, and other smaller towns. Springfield is about 150 thousand people, not counting either the almost "bedroom communities" where people drive into Springfield to work or use social services. And not counting the 27 thousand students at this branch of the state University, Or those attending 1 private college, or the three religious colleges here, one Baptist, one Assemblies of God, and one liberal arts Christian college. So I do not know the accurate population figures when school is in.
I have often wondered how many people could be fed, and there Is real hunger here, if all of the fruit trees in town were harvested. Ann and I used to live in Springfield, next to a house with an old apple tree next door. No one took care of it, thus, ortanic apples. We would ask permission to pick them from the college kids who rotated through that house and always get an answer like, "Sure, I get tired of mowing over the things."
So we picked them, cut out the bad spots, tossed the mostly rotten ones under the tree where the animals could still have them, but they wouldn't be mowed over, and we cooked up what we could save, a Lot! Then we froze the apple sauce, apple spread, etc.
On the corner of a nearby street there was a tree bearing large crab apples, because it cross polinated with the apple tree next door to us. We also asked permission to pick these and were given it. I climbed the ladder and Ann or someone who could see told me which way to reach through the branches to find the clusters of apples. We always washed and pealed these before eating or cooking them, so we weren't eating traffic exhaust residue.
Once there was a Huge crab apple harvest, more than we could use. So we gave bags full to supposedly hunger relieving organizations all over town. They were Offended that we suggested pealing before eating, because the apples came from a high traffic area and refused to take more. I was Very sad! With children going to bed hungry people Weren't willing to Peal a decent sized apple?
Honestly, I was angry, too. According to Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, who wrote, "Anti-Cancer, a New Way of Life" the average store bought apple is sprayed 15 times Before it gets to the store! He also recommends pealing These, but I can bet it doesn't happen.
The pears I was given today have a few bruises on them which I will cut out before washing them. I Wish I knew what kind they were. They are a cross (not literally) between a pear and an apple in texture, staying crunchy, even after falling. They are bigger than store bought soft pears, which I dislike. Ant they are pear-shaped, with a delicate flavor.
I immediately thought of Ann when I received this gift. She loved working with food, especially fruit, which she grew up eating a lot of in Indiana. Mo. Used to be an exporter of apples, strawberries, and tomatoes. But I guess it's all too much work for people now and doesn't bring in enough cash. So people eat highly processed food which makes them sick, bought with cash. Cash Is important, you can't pay rent or a mortgage or fill the gas tank or heat your house with fruit and veggies. It just seems sad to me that free, healthy food is to be mowed over as waste and when we tried donating it directly to people who said they needed food, they couldn't be bothered.
We have less fruit in Mo. than were Ann grew up in Northeast Indiana. But I am Happy to get these pears! Yum! Does anyone know what kind they could be?
Ann and I planted a pear tree, a peach tree, and two pawpaw trees in our yard. I hope that whoever is living there now will care for and enjoy them. Seems like we were always planting food for humans and cover for animals, then having to leave. Hope Someone cares for those places.
I look forward to the time when these pears are ready to cook up, either by themselves, or if they're a bit flat, with some cinamon, ginger, and maybe a touch of nutmeg. A Wonderful spread for bread, to marinate meat in, or on ice cream.
At blind school we got pears sometimes. They were really soft (in which case I gave mine to someone who liked them) Or hard as wood. We used to jump up and down on them, taking no money bets on whose would break first. The housemothers were either amused or accused us of wasting Food. "Food?" I thought. But I love these crunchy big pears and only pray that Ann is enjoying something Better, as she isn't here to enjoy them with me.