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Making the Most of Urban Fruit Trees

Gleaning on Beacon Hill, photo by City Fruit
Gleaning on Beacon Hill, photo by City Fruit

Gleaning on Beacon Hill, photo by City Fruit

It’s late summer and that means harvest time for lots of fruit trees, including apples, pears and plums. This bounty can sometimes go to waste when fruit doesn’t get picked when it’s ripe, or there’s just too much fruit for one family to use when things ripen all at once. Luckily, there’s help if you find yourself in this situation!

Check out City Fruit – a non-profit whose mission is to help tree owners grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit, and work to protect urban fruit trees. At this time of year, they go to neighborhoods throughout Seattle to harvest extra fruit (called “gleaning”). In 2013, City Fruit brought in 10,017 pounds of  unused fruit from residential properties in South Seattle/Beacon Hill, West Seattle and the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhoods. Most of it was donated to food banks and meals programs and a portion of it was sold to restaurants and others.

City Fruit also helps tree owners learn how to care for their fruit trees, trains fruit tree ambassadors, and works with Seattle Parks & Recreation to care for urban orchards.

There are lots of ways you can get involved, from donating extra fruit you pick, volunteering to pick (see list of 2014 dates/locations), or even just adding your tree to the research map for City Fruit’s work to understand where trees are located in the city (you can choose to request harvest help also, but mapping your tree is just for research purposes).

Let’s make this most of this abundance in our midst!