The Medford Welfare Farm of
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints
We have designed this site to help provide information for members and others who would like to serve at the Welfare farm. The buttons to the left will direct you to information about upcoming projects, stake and ward assignments, training, and the harvest.
Pears For Sale!!!! We have on sale: Bartlett, Asian, Paragon. Red Anjou will be available beginning 10/10. Bosc will be available beginning 10/20. Comice will be available beginning 9/28. Bartlett, Red and Bosc are $15. Paragon, Comice and Asian are $20.
Latest messages regarding the Pear Orchard:
Thanks to an excellent turnout the picking of the winter pears was completed in a little over one day. Please get the word out so those who signed up to work this week will know that the 2020 harvest is complete and their services are no longer needed.
A HUGE THANK YOU to all who worked so hard to make this harvest a success. It certainly had its challenges but everyone rose up to the occasion and we got through it.
THE WINTER PEAR HARVEST IS POSTPONED UNTIL THE WEEK OF SEPT 21ST.
Brothers and Sisters,
We are ten days from the start of winter pear harvest. If we can man both platforms with drivers and full crews for every shift, we can knock this harvest out in a couple of days; otherwise, we could drag into the weekend and perhaps beyond.
I think I can say we are all a little weary from Bartlett harvest; but it is a good weary when we labor in service to the Lord! Time for a deep breath, and then press forward to accomplish that thing that the Lord has asked of each of us!
There seems to be a discrepancy in willingness to sign-up to serve on the Orange platform; any input that could help us to understand and address any concerns, would be gratefully welcomed.
Even though the Bartlett pear harvest is complete there is still a bit more work to be done before the 2020 pear harvest is completed. We still have the Bosc and Red Anjou pears, also known as the “winter pears” or “Christmas pears”, to pick. These are all located in the lower orchard off Delta Waters and there are only a few rows of each variety. It is estimated there are only about 40 bins, total of these pears so if we have a good turnout of helpers it should go pretty quickly. As is true for the Bartlett pears, we will first pick from the ground and then use the platforms to pick the upper half of the trees.
Online signup is available for ground work (although it is not necessary to sign up for ground work) and both the blue and orange platforms. The platforms shifts will only be two hours in length, and are scheduled to start at 7am on Tuesday, September 15. The online signup runs through Friday the 18th but it is hoped we will be finished in just a couple of days – and we will if we have a good turnout of volunteers. This is the final phase of harvest and we will continue working until the last pear is picked off the trees.
Platform shifts are as follows:
7am – 9am
9am – 11am
11am – 1pm
5pm – 7pm
7pm – 9pm
As was mentioned above, all work is in the lower orchard, off Delta Waters.
To see the work schedule and to sign up go to www.medfordpearorchard.org and take the link to volunteer at the welfare farm.
FYI - The final bin count for the Bartlett pear harvest was 1,816 bins and for the peaches it was 144 bins.
Bartlett pears are currently for sale at the welfare farm barn for $15 / box and Asians are also available for $20/box. The supply is limited so don’t wait. When they are gone they are gone until next year.
PEARS FOR SALE
I have had several queries asking if we will have pears for sale and if so, when. I received the following information on this subject…
Beginning 8/31/2020, Bartlett pears will go on sale at the Medford Welfare Farm barn, 2750 N. Foothill Rd., Medford, OR 97504. The barn will be staffed from 9 - 3 on Monday thru Friday. No sales on Saturday or Sunday. Pear sales will continue until all pears are sold or October 31, 2020, whichever is sooner. Please call the phone numbers posted in the barn for service if no one is there to assist you.
Price is $15.00 for approximately a 25 pound box of Bartlett pears.
Other varieties of pear (in 25 pound boxes) that will be available in the future are: Asian $20/box; Comice $20/box, Paragon $20/box, Bosc $15/box, Red Anjou $15/box.
Additional emails will be sent when the non-Bartlett varieties become available.
Also, be sure to watch the welfare farm webpage for updates at www.medfordpearorchard.org
Ø 2020 Bartlett pear harvest completed at 9:15am on Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Ø Total bin count has been pretty close to the 1800 estimated. A final count will be known in a few days.
Ø Thanks to the hundreds of people, both young and old, who worked to make the harvest a success.
Ø Pears for purchase will go on sale next week. Further details will be forthcoming.
Ø With the end of harvest the welfare farm is closed for gleaning.
At approximately 9:15am today the blue platform finished picking Bartlett pears for the 2020 harvest. Not much more to say about that!
Thanks to everyone who helped to feed those in need, and a special thanks goes to two groups – the youth of all the stakes who support the welfare farm, including Roseburg, and the full-time missionaries. Without the work of these two groups we would be picking pears for another week or more.
Bartlett pears will go on sale starting August 31. Another email will be sent with the details in the next day or two.
Monday evening a woman visited the pear farm who is not a member of the church but wanted to know if she could help and understand what we were doing. Since harvest was winding down there wasn’t anything she could do to help but she enjoyed seeing the platforms run and hearing about what we do. Every year I have been involved with the harvest there has been one or two visitors who stop by and want to know what is going on. When we explain to them that all of the pears will be donated, and all of the work is done by volunteers they are amazed. And as I look back on it after every harvest, so am I. The number of hours people freely give to help at the pear farm is nothing short of a selfless miracle. At the end of the harvest I am tired, but humbled by what everyone does to make the harvest work. In the movie “Field of Dreams” there is the famous line “if you build it he will come”. To paraphrase that for the welfare farm – if you grow them, they will come. And they do!
Thank you again for all you do. We can’t do it without you!
Ø Approximately 1700 bins of pears have been picked to-date – about 94% done.
Ø Roughly 70-80 bins are left to pick.
Ø Both platforms are in blocks C/D of the upper orchard.
Ø With the staffing currently signed up for the platforms, we should finish late Tuesday. Sooner if we can keep the orange platform running!
Ø Ladder picking will mainly be cleanup
Ø A young man fell off a ladder and broke his arm while working at the welfare farm this week. Working at the welfare farm requires constant vigilance!
Ø Leo Freedman, the foreman, has left the farm to return to his camp-hosting duties in Parker, Arizona. Thank you Leo for taking the time to come help.
Ø The smaller harvest this year has been something of a “blessing”.
A couple of years ago, as the pear harvest was dragging into its third week, someone asked me why we didn’t have another platform since picking from them is quicker and more efficient than using ladders. My response was simply that we don’t get enough volunteers to keep two platforms running all the time so there’s no reason to think we could fully staff a third. I’ve been told we could possibly get a third one, but I don’t know that it would help get the harvest finished sooner.
As of this writing the blue platform is looking pretty good for the next few days, but the only shift on the orange platform that is full is the 6pm-9pm one on Monday and Tuesday. We will run those shifts, and any others that there are at least two workers in addition to a driver, as long as there are pears to be picked.
There are only about six full lanes of pears left to pick in the upper orchard but these are the longest lanes on the farm. If each lane produces ten-to-twelve bins of pears, that is only 60-70 bins but because we are only using the platforms those 60-70 bins go pretty slowly. If each shift on the blue platform can do about 2/3rds of a lane (or 6-7 bins) per shift and we run a few orange platform shifts we can be done Tuesday evening. I have removed all orange platform shifts after Tuesday from the online sign up but I am leaving all of the blue shifts until we are finished. When we are done I will delete the remaining shifts and an email will be sent to those who were signed up for those shifts letting them know we are finished. Please watch the online sign up and your email inbox.
Someone mentioned that if we had been able to run a full complement of workers on the blue platform, as we have during the non-COVID years, we would be done by now. But, for multiple reasons, the harvest this year has been “very unique”. One of those unique things has been that the harvest is only around 1800 bins this year. Two years ago it was over 2400 bins. Although the purpose of the farm is to produce pears we would have struggled if we had had a crop this year like we did two years ago and still had 600-700 bins of pears to pick. But the Lord blesses us in different ways. We have been able to send to the church cannery the amount of pears they asked us to send and that is the main mission of the farm. It would have been nice to have produced more pears but, as I mentioned, it would have been difficult to get them harvested.
Thanks to everyone who has worked to make the harvest a success this year. We will take the experiences we have had, look at what worked and what didn’t work, and try to make next year’s harvest better.
We couldn’t have done it without everyone who came out to help. Thank you all!
Ø Bin count is approximately 1593 which puts us at 88% of completion – assuming an 1800 bin harvest.
Ø We had a good turnout of young men and women from Grants Pass and a couple of the Central Point wards Wednesday evening. Great bunch of kids who, once again, did a good job of getting pears off the trees and into the bins – mostly.
Ø Because the work is now exclusively being done by ladder and the platforms the number of bins per day has dropped dramatically. Now a good day is 75-80 bins
Ø The lower orchard has finish and the orange platform has been moved to block ‘J’ in the upper orchard.
Ø The blue platform has started to work its way back down from the top of the hill. There are approximately 12-13 lanes left before the trees above the irrigation canal are finished.
Ø Platforms, platforms, platforms! Many of the platform shifts are looking good but there are still some gaping holes and we will have to cancel some shifts if they don’t get filled.
Ø Don’t miss out on working on the platform this year. Hurry and sign up before it’s too late!
Ø To sign up go to www.medfordpearorchard.org and follow the instructions.
Ø Picking the Bosc and Red Anjous in the lower orchard will most likely start around the third week in September. If we have a good turnout these shouldn’t take more than a couple of days.
Ø An online sign up to help with taking down the sign in stations will be added when we complete the Bartlett pears. This will most likely be on next Wednesday or Thursday and should only take a couple of hours if we have enough people.
As the 2020 harvest winds down the number of volunteers showing up each day has dropped. Mornings are much lighter and the evenings are fairly sparse at well – if not for the young men and women. Wednesday evening we had another good turnout from the Grants Pass and Central Point leaders and youth and they did a great job filling bins. We probably picked close to ten rows in block ‘J’ which is a good night’s effort.
Much of the slowdown is because we are only working from ladders and the platforms. If you are not comfortable climbing up and down a ladder but would still like to help, we can always find something to do at the sign in desk.
The projected finish for the Bartlett harvest is around Tuesday evening but watch the online sign up. When harvest is done the remaining shifts will be removed.
Brother Leo Freedman, who has been overseeing the harvest this year, will be leaving on Sunday. If you see him please let him know how much we appreciate him coming here to help while Bro. Nielsen is recovering. It would have been a very chaotic harvest without Leo’s steady vision and direction.
And speaking of chaotic harvests – just wait until next year. Foothill road will be undergoing major construction next year as they widen it from a two land to a four lane road with a median and sidewalks. It will be a nice improvement but it most likely won’t be finished by the time we start harvest next year.
Thanks again to the many hundreds, if not thousands, who come out and help with the pear and peach harvest. As I have said in all of my emails – we can’t do it without you! But we need to finish strong!
- Approximately 550 bins of pears were picked from Thursday thru Saturday That brings the total number of bins picked to between 1300-1400 or about 75% done.
- Ground picking is complete but there is still much ladder work to be done. There are about 12 rows in block ‘K’ yet to be picked, most of ‘J’ , and about - rows in block ‘I’, plus a lot of cleanup work.
- Both platforms still have several slots that need to be filled – this is especially true for the early shifts on Monday. IF we can keep the platforms running we may be able to finish the majority of the work by the weekend. IF we keep the platforms running to full capacity!
- Roseburg Saturday was a big success.
- As was mentioned last week, right now we are not selling Bartlett pears off the trees. These will only be for sale after we meet our commitment to the church and local food banks. However, gleaning pears off the ground can take place until harvest is completed, at which time the welfare farm is closed to the public.
With Bro. Nielsen not involved with the harvest this year I am not getting regular updates on the bin count. However, I was told that we picked around 550 bins from Thursday through Saturday so that should give us an approximate total of 1300-1400 bins. If we can keep the platforms running and the ladders busy, and can average 75-100 bins per day for the upcoming week we should be finished with the majority of the picking by next weekend. But that’s only true if people show up and help. Those pears don’t come off the tree and go into the bin by themselves!
The orange platform should finish in the lower orchard sometime in the next couple of days. When done there it will move to the upper orchard so watch the comment section of the online sign up slots for that platform for when it changes locations.
We still have ladder work in blocks ‘I’, ‘J’, and ‘K’. When those are completed we will move the ladders to the trees above the irrigation canal and work there until we are completely finished.
As is always the case, Roseburg Saturday was a huge success. There was somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-300 members who made the long drive down I-5 to help and they did a great job of picking pears and filling bins. They always give us a real boost after the harvest has drawn out for a couple of weeks and their time and effort is greatly appreciated.
This week I had a call from someone who had driven to the welfare farm from California to buy pears because they had been told we had them for sale. Please be sure to get the word out that Bartlett pears will only be for sale after we have met our commitments to the church cannery and local food banks and right now we don’t know if there will be many for sale. We anticipate a harvest that is 25% less than it was just two years ago.
Thanks again to all of you who take the time and energy to support the welfare effort of the church. Every year there are people who make an extra effort to come out and help, and that inspires all of us who work to make this happen. THANK YOU!
We can’t do it without each and everyone one of you.
- Overall the Bartlett pear harvest is going as well as can be expected.
- Total bins so far are between 950-1000.
- Over 300 youth from Central Point, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, and Roseburg turned out on Wednesday evening. It was great!
- Because of the light harvest and the great turnout of the youth on Wednesday, the “ground only” work has completed.
- All remaining work will be “whole tree” picking, mean from both the ground and ladders, and the platforms.
- If we can keep the platforms fully staffed and running we should be able to complete the harvest before the end of the month.
Because the pears are so light this year the ground picking has gone fairly quickly and, combine that with the great turnout we had Wednesday evening with people from Klamath Falls, Grants Pass, Central Point, and Roseburg the ‘ground only’ work is complete. However, blocks ‘I’, ‘J’, and ‘K’ still have “whole tree” picking to be done which means both ground and ladder work. If you are comfortable using a ladder, please come out and help. We would like to get those three blocks completed without the platforms.
Speaking of the platforms – as is almost always the case, keeping the platforms fully staffed and running is the key to getting the harvest completed before the fruit becomes too ripe. Without going into the details the blue platform has a few openings over the next few days, but the orange platform is woefully under-staffed. For example, tonight the 9pm to midnight shift has no one signed up. Zero! Zilch! And next Monday is the same. If you would like to see the pear harvest completed, the way to do it is to help keep the platforms staffed and running. So please encourage people to sign up and get the word out that we desperately need help on the platforms.
The estimate is that we have shipped between 950-1000 bins to the cooler so far and right now the pears are in prime condition for picking and shipping. Now is the time to get them off the trees!
Thanks for all you do to keep the harvest running and helping in this worthwhile endeavor.
If you need further information please contact the High Council representative for your stake assigned to the Welfare Farm Committee.
Medford Mark Gustafson 701-361-3278
Central Point Joe Frodsham 541-821-3686
Grants Pass Dan Newbill
Klamath Falls Larry Shields 541-274-0165
Roseburg Bryan Lake (541) 671-2483 firstname.lastname@example.org