PEG members get back to nature with trip to orchard
October 5, 2009, 1:13 am · Updated October 5, 2009, 12:00 am·
College junior Jenna Stahl stretched for an apple at the top of the orchard tree as she juggled a produce box in her other arm. She plucked the fruit from its branch and tucked it away with the apples she had already collected over the course of the morning.
“I love this, just being able to get out of the city for a day,” Stahl, co-director of Penn Environmental Group, said as she took a bite out of one of her apples. “I miss the trees, so this sort of activity really keeps me sane.”
Stahl was one of the nine students who attended the Penn Environmental Group’s annual Apple Picking at Linvilla Orchards yesterday. The event was organized by PEG’s Social Squad Director and College junior Dorie Obertello who coordinates social projects for the organization.
Obertello said Apple Picking and PEG’s other annual social events, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving Potluck and Arboretum, offer members a way to get to know other members and build “team spirit.”
PEG Co-Director and College junior Christiana Dietzen said she does not have as much direct involvement in PEG’s projects since assuming the position on the board this year, so PEG’s Apple Picking gave her an opportunity to interact with other PEG members and students.
The small group travelled to Media, Pa., to visit Linvilla Orchards, the last full-time working farm in the state, according to Farm Manager Norman Schultz. The 300 square acres have been owned by the Linvilla family since the early 20th century and welcome thousands of local visitors every weekend, particularly during peak apple-picking season in September and October, Schultz said.
“In the past decade, more and more parents and families are interested in getting in touch with the food they eat and with buying locally grown produce,” he said.
Visitors can also pick berries, peaches, peppers, tomatoes and pumpkins, depending on the season. However, Schultz added that the orchard is best known for its apples, which attract about 25 percent of its visitors. The orchard also offers live entertainment, activities, a farmer’s market and food. Student visitors, usually from local elementary schools, can also attend one of 20-30 educational tours at the orchard.
“This was something so fun to do on a Sunday,” College freshman and PEG member Nabilla Ariffin said as she browsed through the market’s produce. “I’ve never even seen an apple tree before, so I had a great time.”
Stahl and Dietzen both expressed excitement about the growing student interest in PEG.
“We’re one of the groups on campus that does actually meaningful projects because we have really specialized groups within our organization,” said Stahl.