Monday, January 20, 2014

Turning Grapes Into Raisins: A Labor of Love at the LDS Vineyard in Madera, California

On a bright, sunny Saturday morning at the end of August in 2013, my husband and I, along with hundreds of other volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints converged on an 80-acre grape vineyard in Madera, California.

The purpose? To pick the sweet, plump, juicy Thompson Seedless grapes and lay them out on large paper trays. Why did we place these grapes onto paper trays? So that they would dry in the sun and turn into raisins.

The grapes were left to dry in the sun for about two weeks. Then, volunteers returned to the vineyard to roll the grapes, or should I say raisins, inside the paper trays. The raisins were processed and made available to people around the world as part of the LDS Church's welfare and worldwide humanitarian aid programs. If you'd like to learn about the LDS Humanitarian Aid program, please click
HERE.

This vineyard is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the Church in eight stakes volunteer to work in the vineyard throughout the year. For my non-LDS readers, you may be wondering what a "stake" is. A stake is a geographical unit that is made up of a group of wards. And a ward is a local congregation that is organized geographically. Members of the Church attend a ward near their home. Each ward is assigned a certain number of rows in this vineyard.

I took these photos after my husband and I had finished working in the vineyard.

Newly picked grapes. Isn't that a beautiful sight?


Newly Picked Grapes

A row of grapes in the vineyard. See how they are changing color? These were picked several days before we arrived. They were already on their way to becoming raisins.

Grapes Drying in the Sun

Grapes beginning to dry in the sun.

Grapes Drying in the Sun

Grape vines.

Grape Vines

Grape picking tools – grape pan, grape knives, garden pruner, and water. My husband uses a grape knife. I prefer my garden pruner.

Grape Picking Tools

To learn more about the LDS Vineyard in Madera, please click the following link. There's a great video that accompanies this brief article. The video shows volunteers working in the vineyard.

Raisins: Part of the Lord’s Work

Linking with Oh, the PLACES I've been! and Our World Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

16 comments:

  1. This is all new to me, Jana. I had no idea the Church owned a vineyard. Thank you for sharing your photos and story!

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    1. Hi Becky,

      I'm so glad you liked learning about the LDS vineyard in our area. Thank you for stopping by! =)

      Delete
  2. I was just going to say the same thing, it is all new to me also! I never knew LDS owned a vineyard, in Madera! Very Interesting, thanks for teaching me something new today. I enjoyed your post!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments Cheryl! =)

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  3. How interesting! It must be very hard work but at the same time, lots of fun!

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    Replies
    1. It is hard work, but it's worth it to know that these raisins will go to help those in need. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Wow! I didn't know any of this either! Very interesting. I'm glad you explained "stakes". I thought it was a typo for "states"! :) Very nice meaningful post!

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    1. Thank you Cindy! I appreciate your kind words! And I'm glad my explanation about "stakes" was helpful. =)

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  5. That sounds like a fascinating way to do an act of service. I always pictured raisin making to be very industrial and did not know that some vineyards did it the traditional hand-picked, sundried way.

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    1. There are many other vineyards in our area that also dry the grapes in the sun as well. I'm not familiar enough with the grapes to raisin process to know if that's common in other areas though. It is a pretty satisfying sight to see all of those paper trays filled with grapes in those rows. Thank you for your comments! =)

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  6. I bet this is back breaking work, how lovely of your to volunteer your time. Go on do tell, how many grapes did you eat?!
    Have a lovely week
    Wren x

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Wandering Wren! And thank you for your kind comments! Actually, I haven't eaten any of those grapes in the vineyard. I'll bet they are delicious though. =)

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  7. My grandparents used to live in the central valley and I remember driving through Madera on our way to Modesto. In those days, the "highway" went through lots of little towns along the way. Now the bypasses make travel faster, but not as much fun. - Margy

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    1. Hi Margy,

      Wow! You've been through this area! That's very cool! Thank you for stopping by and for your comments.

      Delete

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