Sindlesham’s Freely Fruity digs up summer harvest

freely fruity wokingham woodley earley harvest
FRESH: Chris Gaskell, from Love Your Neighbour, helps deliver the harvest with his daughter. Picture: Freely Fruity

A SINDLESHAM charity is harvesting the start of the summer crop, to fuel nearby food banks. 

Freely Fruity, which grows free produce for the community, formed last summer.

Co-founder Ryan Simpson, said volunteers picked and washed more than 30kg of organic fresh produce over the weekend.

It has been delivered to food banks in Woodley, Wokingham and Basingstoke, with help from Reading charity, Love Your Neighbour.

“Food banks are brilliant, but they can only offer mostly dried or tinned foods,” Mr Simpson said. “Everybody deserves to eat right — that’s our aim.”

Mr Simpson said the charity has planted 4,000 strawberry plants and 300 tomato plants, along with hundreds of broccoli, peas, beans, sweet corn, peppers, and cucumber and courgette.

Salad leaves and herbs are also growing on site.

“We’re struggling to keep up with the strawberries,” he said. “We’re picking them once or twice a week.

“This year we have started weighing all our produce to document the harvest,” he said.  “The weight of the harvest will go up and up as the fruit and veg becomes ready.”

With more statistics in their armoury, Mr Simpson hopes this will help the charity secure grants and funding. 

This will help demonstrate the charity’s reach and impact on the community. 

“Once we get to the summer holidays, we will also be supplying the Woodley Lunch Bunch, and Wokingham’s Grub Club, through Share Wokinham,” he said. 

Youngsters will be given strawberries, small cucumbers, and berries in their lunches to help reach their five a day. 

Food will also go to New Beginnings in Reading, and the Camberley All Night Café For The Homeless.

Last month, the charity planted 12 apple trees at Wheatfield Primary School, in Winnersh.

The aim is to establish orchards in schools across the borough, for future generations to enjoy. 

The University of Reading recently donated more than 300 apple trees to the charity, which will be given to even more schools around the area.

READ MORE: Freely Fruity trio plant orchard at Wheatfield Primary School

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