ten mile diet pears

Have I told you about my new favourite Facebook group? Well, yes I have in this post here, but I’ll tell you again because it’s just THAT GOOD!

Basically if you have an apple tree (or other food producing flora) in your backyard, and you don’t have time to harvest it’s bounty you post to Out of Your Tree in Saskatoon and your neighbours will come and take some of your excess fruit/veggies/berries off your hands.

Last week I happened to see a post about an overflowing pear tree, and was super excited because we’ve been talking about planting pears in our backyard. I am increasingly in Love with the idea of cultivating fruit trees and I was pumped to see one in action. After a couple of messages back and forth, my friend Mark and I arranged to go and harvest some pears from a home in the North end of the city. When we arrived we were not disappointed.

The pears were literally falling off of these two trees, like juicy sweet manna from heaven. Mark and I took turns shaking the various branches and gathering the fruit that rained down onto the owner’s trampoline. It was a glorious sight, let me tell you. We spent about an hour picking and loaded a big plastic tub with probably about 60 or 70 pounds.

* This tub was full when we left, the picture was taken after much sharing had already taken place 😀

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Any fruit that grows in our frigid Saskatchewan climate has got to be small and hard and sour and awful, but these pears are anything but. They’re small yes, but they’re probably the sweetest pears I’ve ever tasted, and the bland woodiness that you often encounter with supermarket pears is completely absent with these little guys. So far I’ve made a big batch of *delicious* pear sauce, dropped off bags of pears to half a dozen friends (looking forward to the pear mead one friend now has on the go), and Cass and I have hand eaten about a thousand of them. There are still a few pounds left in the fridge and they’re keeping nicely.

One of the things that really excites me about these pears, and the idea of cultivating food in general is the notion of a “10 mile diet”. I start to be able to imagine a food system that is decentralized, informal, and non-commodified. I start to be able to picture neighbourhoods, and communities being able to feed each other better than the waste-happy, nutrient poor industrialized system is able to. I think about the bonds that are formed when people exchange gifts, particularly gifts as important as food. And I think *a lot* about how the money in our current financial system is intrinsically scarce but how the things we get for free are often so abundant that you have no choice but to give them away. I think about these things, and I eat a pear that my neighbour gave me, and it feels like things are looking up.

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