Leket, the crop-picking and food donation organization, is all about new fruit at this time of year.
While Leket’s teams of volunteers usually harvest anything from potatoes to lemons, at this time of year it’s mainly about the apples. And pomegranates.
Leket — the Hebrew word for gleaning or gathering produce from the fields — chooses the fruits and vegetables it picks based on the needs of the groups that receive its produce, as well as the farmers who need help in harvesting their crops.
For much of the year, its volunteers pick the vegetables that make up the classic Israeli salad, such as cucumber, tomato and onion.
There are, however, special requests, such as apples before Rosh Hashanah, as well as pomegranates and carambola aka starfruit, which are often used as the “new fruit” eaten during the New Year.
This September, the food bank helped out Golan Heights farmers, the growers of many of Israel’s apples, and picked 300 tons of apples that will be provided to 140,000 families in need over the holiday. An average day of apple-picking yields about three tons of the fruit.
For pomegranates, they gathered 300 kilograms of yellow carambola from a moshav near Ra’anana, providing 150 families with the unusual ridged fruit that resembles a star when it’s sliced across.