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.
Sign Up To Work In The Orchard CLICK HERE!
Covid-19 Safety Measures - Read Here
Latest messages regarding the Pear Orchard:
Ø Ground picking for pears will start again at 5pm Thursday evening in blocks E and F off Foothill Drive.
Ø We need to get enough ground picking done to run the next four platform shifts platform shifts so please help if you have the time.
Ø The first pass of ground picking for peaches should wrap up Thursday evening.
Ø The orange platform will be working in the peaches for the next few days.
Ø The blue platform will be in blocks E & F off Foothill Drive.
The turnout this morning for picking peaches was very good and we were able to get most of the ground picking done in just a few hours. We hauled 36 bins of peaches to the cooler where they will sit for a few days before being shipped to Caldwell, Idaho for canning.
Because peaches ripen and mature differently than pears, those that were too small (smaller than a tennis ball) or not ripe (still too green) were left on the trees. We will give those another week or two to grow and mature then make a second pass to pick them.
All of the pears have been picked in block G so the orange platform has started working in the peaches and the blue platform has been moved to blocks E and F which are just above the irrigation canal at the Foothill location. This evening, Thursday, August 6, we will start picking pears from the ground again in blocks E and F. Ground picking needs to be done to allow both tonight’s 6pm and 9pm, and tomorrow morning’s 4am and 7am platform shifts to run. There is no limit to the number of people who are welcome so if you have an hour or two, please come out and help.
For some reason the volume of pears seems to be very light this year. Two years ago we picked over 2,400 bins of pears but this year it is estimated the harvest will only be around 1,800. There’s no particular reason for the fewer pears except that some years are better than others and this year seems to be a down year. The good news associated with this is that it shouldn’t take us as long to complete harvest but the bad news is there may be fewer pears to ship to the Caldwell cannery and for the local food banks.
As always, we appreciate each and every volunteer who gives of their time and energy to help with this important work. It is an opportunity to give meaningful service to help those who need it most. We can’t do it without you!
Brothers and Sisters,
We need to call those in our "calling trees" to make them aware that we need to get the peaches picked!
We begin ground picking this morning...so far we have 18 signed up of the 40 requested. At 6:00pm we begin picking on the platforms in the rows prepared by the ground pickers. The Blue platform has full crews for both the 6pm and 9pm shifts. The Orange platform on the other hand, has only 2 pickers, on both the 6pm and 9pm shifts...with only one ground picker signed up to pick, after 6pm. So there are not even ground pickers to recruit this evening for the Orange platform.
Going forward, the numbers are fewer for Friday and Saturday...We need to call as many as possible to assist with harvesting our peaches; especially right away!
Ø The pears are maturing nicely
Ø The Lane Coordinator position has been added to the online signup
Ø Peach picking will start on Thursday at 6am. A signup for 40 volunteers has been added to the online signup.
The pears are noticeably larger than they were just a few days ago so delaying harvest for a week was a good move. It’s amazing how much difference just one week of good weather can make this time of year.
Because the lane coordinator is one of the most important jobs while picking pears an online signup has been added for that position. We have a need for good lane coordinators so if you have experience with that please consider signing up.
And now the peaches are ready to pick. We will start ground picking those at 6am on Thursday, August 6. Because the peaches are only in one area of the orchard we can only accommodate about 40 volunteers so please get the word out that we are starting the peaches but only the first forty lucky volunteers get to help.
We will also need sign in table, lane coordinator, and green vest attendant support for the peaches.
The peach harvest looks very good this year and with a good turnout we should be able to complete it in about three days. As is the case with the pears, once the ground picking of the peaches is complete we will move the platforms to that area to pick peaches.
If you haven’t picked the peaches other years, it is quite different than picking pears. To pick a peach you just give it a slight twist and because a peach is more delicate than a pear we need to handle it more carefully. And the bins are much smaller.
After Thursday, if enough people show up we will also pick pears, but Thursday will only be peaches and they will be the primary task until completed. Please come out and help so we can pick the peaches as quickly as possible.
We can’t do it without YOU!
Brothers and Sisters ..... We have reduced operations at the orchard this week to only Platforms, yet we have many shifts with as few as one picker. There is no way to recruit from Ground pickers we need ALL to contact as many as you can that can SIGN-IN thru SignUpGenius so we fill the empty slots without having multiple individuals show up for the same spot.
When I sent the harvest update on Saturday I mentioned that the blue platform was broken down and there was a concern the problem might be difficult to repair. However, the fixed turned out to be relatively simple and it is back up and running. The 4am and 7am shifts for the blue platform on Monday are still canceled and we will monitor how it runs during the 10am shift. Assuming things go well with that, the evening shifts will run as scheduled.
As mentioned Friday and again yesterday, the ground and ladder work as well as most support work has been suspended until Friday, August 7. Unless there are significant events that happen between now and the 7th there probably won’t be any further updates until after that date.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we harvest the pears and peaches.
The volunteer turnout for the first three days of harvest has been very encouraging. We have hauled 220 bins of pears to the cooler and have enough of the trees ground picked to keep the platforms busy for the next several days.
Unfortunately the pears have not been ripening as quickly as we anticipated so we have had to suspend the ground and ladder work until Friday, August 7. Both the orange and blue platforms will continue to run but late on Saturday the blue platform developed a mechanical problem causing the shifts scheduled for Monday morning to be cancelled and, if it is not a quick fix, the Monday evening and Tuesday morning shifts could be cancelled as well. This is only true for the blue platform. The orange platform shifts will run as scheduled starting at 4am Monday morning in the lower orchard off Delta Waters.
We have noticed the number of pears on the trees is lighter this year than in previous years. Because of that and the good turnout of volunteers the harvest is going faster than anticipated but we are not getting the number of pears that we would like for the Caldwell cannery. As far as we know there isn’t a reason for the reduced number of pears other than some years the trees don’t bear as much fruit as other years.
Overall the harvest is coming along nicely but we need to keep the platforms running – both mechanically and staffing.
Thanks to all of those who have come out to help. We can’t do it without you!
- Executive Summary Bullet Points
Ø The work on Friday evening, July 31, and Saturday, August 1, will go on as scheduled but the sign in table, ground, and ladder work will mainly be in the lower orchard off Delta Waters.
Ø Starting Friday evening all orange platform work will be in the lower orchard until further notice.
Ø The blue platform will continue to work in block ‘G’ off Foothill.
Ø The regular BLUE AND ORANGE PLATFORM SHIFTS WILL CONTINUE TO RUN throughout next week. Blue will be in block ‘G’ off Foothill and orange will be in the lower orchard off Delta Waters.
Ø After Saturday all GROUND AND LADDER picking will be stopped until Friday, August 7 at 6am.
Ø The support tasks such as sign in table, water, green vest attendants, tractor, and forklift will be canceled or adjusted as needed.
Ø The volume of pears is very light this year so ground picking is going much quicker than anticipated.
Explanation of this decision - Pressure Testing the Pears
We perform a “pressure test” on a sample of pears to determine when they are ready to pick. This test has great variability because some areas of the farm ripen sooner than others and even within a section some pears are ready before others. We take a representative sample of pears from a section and make a decision based on the results of that sample. If we start picking pears before the majority of pears are at 18 pounds they won’t ripen off the tree but if we wait too long then we may not get them picked and in storage before they get too soft. It’s a pretty narrow window between 18 and 14 pounds where the pear is in ideal condition with the pear softening approximately ¼ pound per day – hence the 16 day timeframe for an ideal harvest.
Based on the readings we had been taking we expected the pears to be ready in block ‘G’ starting on July 30 and the other areas of the farm to be ready by the time we finished ‘G’. However, the hot (over 100 degree) weather has caused the pears to stop maturing because the tree’s energy is spent sustaining itself and not into the production of its pears.
The ground picking in block ‘G’ wen much faster than anticipated. Partly because the trees don’t have as many pears this year as they have previous years.
Blocks O and P in the lower orchard are ready
Blocks ‘O’ and ‘P’ in the lower orchard off Delta Waters are right around 18 pounds so we will continue to pick pears in those blocks Friday evening and Saturday as also run the orange platform there. However, once the ground picking is finished in those blocks there will not be any other areas ready until next Friday, August 7.
The online signup will be adjusted to reflect these changes. We may need a few people to help for some of the tasks (sign in table and water) to support the platforms so watch the online signup.
If you have any questions or need clarification please let me know.
As always we appreciate everyone who comes out to help. We can’t do it without you.
- There will be two Medford Stake Youth Pear Picking nights.
Thursday, Aug 6th & Aug 13th
Bring a mask and a terrific attitude
We will provide ice cream bars at the end.
**Wards are encouraged to arrange youth pear picking nights also.
Working together, we can harvest this crop quickly.
7/23/20 - Greetings,
I have had several people ask me when the pear harvest will start this year and now we know the answer. After doing a pressure test of the pears from various parts of the welfare farm we have found that section G will be ready to start picking on Thursday, July 30.
The plan is to do the sign in table setup on Wednesday, July 29 from 8am to noon (while it is still relatively cool) and then start ground picking in section G on Thursday at 6am. Tentative plans are to schedule only a 6pm blue and orange platform shift Thursday evening but these will depend upon the turnout Thursday morning and if we get enough rows picked to run the platforms. If we don’t get enough rows ground picked Thursday morning then the platforms won’t start until the 7am shift on Friday.
The online signup should be available tomorrow, Thursday, July 23. We will need at least 8 people for setup on Wednesday, the 29th, so please get that word out. We can’t start until we have the sign in tables setup.
To attempt to create a safe environment for everyone we have implemented several restrictions due to COVID. Please bring a face mask and wear it when in the sign in area. Wearing a mask will be optional while working in the orchard PROVIDED there are at least 10 feet of separation between workers not of the same family. This means workers may be spread out more than normal and you will have to be careful to not come within 10 feet of someone while dumping pears in a bin.
We are all learning how best to make things work in the age of COVID as we go so don’t be surprised if these guidelines change during the harvest. Bottom line is we want everyone to be safe while getting the pears off the trees and we don’t want anyone to catch the disease at the welfare farm.
I’m excited to finally get the harvest started and look forward to a successful and productive August. As most of you are aware, the need for food to stock the Bishop’s Storehouse is great this year so getting the pears to the cannery in good condition is critical.
As we approach this 2020 Harvest, there has been many changes that needed to be made regarding the Covid-19 Virus. Special training and safety methods will be in place. Please go the SPECIAL TRAINING link below to get started. More information will be listing on this website as it becomes available.
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