Frequently Asked Questions

Who runs Mid-Valley Harvest?

Mid-Valley Harvest is project of Salem Harvest that unites farmers, community volunteers, backyard gardeners, health advocates and food providers to harvest and donate excess produce into our local food system. Our mission is to connect people with food that would otherwise go to waste, reduce hunger throughout the city, and build a sense of community. The leadership team volunteers many hours of their own time to make harvests happen.

What should I do if my contact information changes?

If you are changing contact information like your email address or phone number, go to the Contact Update page. If you need to make a name change, write to the webmaster at

Why won’t the signup page let me on the roster?

You may have typed your name differently than you did when you initially registered. You also need to check off the Release and Waiver of Liability. If you are still unable to access the roster, contact the webmaster at or (503) 991-5525.

I forgot to write down the harvest address!

The email you receive after you sign up includes a link to information about the harvest, including the address. If you have signed up for the harvest but have lost this email, go to the Mid-Valley Harvest website and click on the “Volunteer” button. Click the button there to get another email. If you have any trouble, contact Dick.

How are harvests planned?

Harvest leaders meet with crop owners to scout the property and discuss harvest logistics. The size of the roster is determined by the amount of produce, the number of available volunteer staff, and parking space. Our goal is to accommodate as any people as possible.

We are indebted to property owners and commercial growers who share our mission. Commercial growers are able to donate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes produce is left over because it wasn’t sold or wasn’t ripe at the time of harvest. Some crops are unsuitable for machine harvests, and other crops are too small to fulfill a cannery contract. These factors mean that we don’t know which large-scale crops will be available each season, and often have only a few days’ notice to plan harvests.

Can I bring my kids?

We encourage parents to bring their children, but please be aware that some harvests will be more suitable for kids than others. No one under the age of 13 may climb a ladder, and climbing trees is never allowed. If the lowest fruit is not accessible from the ground, there are few opportunities for younger children to help. We always provide as much information as possible about the height of the tree and the lowest fruit, so that you can make the decision about whether or not to bring your kids. Youth under age 18 don’t need to register as volunteers, but parents are required to check off the waiver form, agreeing to provide supervision.

Volunteers under age 18 must be actively supervised by an adult who is on the harvest roster.

We believe that picking with Mid-Valley Harvest is a valuable educational experience and a fabulous opportunity for young folks to give back to the community. When we announce new harvests, we will call special attention to those that are appropriate for children.

Has the produce been sprayed with chemicals?

Our harvests take place at a wide variety of properties, from 10-acre orchards to urban backyards. We always ask the property owner whether or not their fruit has been sprayed with non-organic chemicals in the last three years, and we include that information when we schedule the harvest.

Do I have to stay for the entire time?

Since space is limited at many of the harvest sites, we ask that you register to harvest only when you can arrive on time and stay for the whole time until the crop is picked. Most harvests are scheduled for about two hours.

Why do harvests fill so quickly?

Many people have registered with Mid-Valley Harvest. When a harvest is posted, we believe it is most fair to notify all volunteers at the same time. Unfortunately, at this time there is no practical way to rotate signup opportunities. Those who take on greater leadership roles have a better chance of hearing about smaller, last-minute harvest.

Why aren’t there more harvests?

Mid-Valley Harvest relies on donations from crop owners. While we do want crop owners to be aware of our service, we do not contact specific farmers to ask them to participate. After a crop is donated, our leadership team considers how many harvests will be needed to harvest the produce. We also consider our ability to staff the harvest, provide parking space and accommodate requests from the crop owner.