Big Apple Harvest

Last week I went around with the nation’s first food recovery group, City Harvest. This New York City group saves 20 million pounds of food annually that would otherwise be shipped to landfills in…New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia! That total would fill 500 tractor trailers full of food, which, if lined up, would stretch more than 5 miles.

As you can see, some of the pickups are pretty New York specific. Another “only in New York” food rescue moment: recovering more than 2000 pounds of melted cheese from the world’s largest fondue Guinness Book stunt at Rockefeller Plaza.

Some City Harvest routes collect bulk produce donations from the Bronx’ Hunt’s Point Market and other locations. During the “retail route” I experienced, I witnessed their typically timely drop offs. We picked up excess bread from upscale grocery stores and restaurants on the Upper East Side and, cruising by Malcolm X Boulevard and the Apollo Theater, dropped it at Harlem’s Metropolitan Baptist Church. There, the giant bags of bread were repackaged into smaller bags for redistribution.

The outing even included a fun exchange of Yankees/Red Sox pleasantries with Bronx-born driver Haisel Vasquez. Being heckled about your favorite, first-place baseball team while recovering food: only in New York!

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