Volunteers help save fruit from home fruit trees from going to waste

It's the season where people with fruit trees in their yard are drowning in fresh fruit, be they pears, apples, plums, whatever. It's not long before you find yourself desperately looking for people to give it away to, having pretty much run out of things you can make plums into.

This is where Community Fruit Tree Harvest steps in. (Coverage in The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. There's also Lettuce Link for donating produce from your home garden.)

The volunteers at Community Fruit Tree Harvest will visit your house and pick the fruit from your tree, donating it to local food banks. Everybody wins: You don't have to deal with all the extra fruit, the food banks get fresh fruit, nothing goes to waste. (This is one of those "Why didn't somebody think of this sooner?" type of programs.) Contact telephone numbers are on the web pages. It appears that they currently cover the Wallingford, Phinney Ridge, and Green Lake neighborhoods.

Comments (8)
  1. Lauren Smith says:

    There’s a good explanation of why "somebody didn’t think of this sooner" in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

  2. Nathan says:

    Odds are there is a reason no one has thought of it first. It may be different on the west coast, but most ‘home’ fruit trees are poorly maintained. They aren’t pruned appropriately, aren’t treated for diseases and insects (nor are the fruit treated). Thus the resulting fruit is often full of worms, very seedy, sour/poorly developed, rarely ripe, undersized (pears the size of small walnuts?). Essentially poor fruit that no one wants in the first place.

    Me ? I go to local orchards and support them. Sure I’d love a peach tree in my front yard (well, we’ve got the fig tree/shrub/bush growing, but it’ll be 2-3 more years before we can harvest). But I know what a headache it is to maintain one.

  3. poochner says:

    Yes, it can be hard to maintain fruit trees, but in the southern US, it only takes a few tomato plants to overfeed a family.  That’s provided they come in properly, of course, which is why you plant more than that.  Then if ALL of them come in, you’re giving tomatoes to everybody you know just to get rid of them.

  4. Cody says:

    When my grandparents were gardening more than they do now when I would water the plants I’d just grab tomatoes off the vine and devour them there.  Didn’t work as well for the hot peppers though.

  5. Matt says:

    They do this in Silicon Valley as well.  I volunteered and it was a lot of fun.  http://www.villageharvest.org/harvesting.htm

  6. Igor says:

    In Serbia, plums are usually turned into a hard liquor similar to brandy. Doble-distilling is common here so expect 60% of alcohol in there:


    So, what are you waiting for? Send them over, if they are good we will send you few bottles ;-)

  7. tsrblke says:


    I think they’re hoping that only people who care for their trees to get fruit will call.  (i.e. if your tree is producing small fruit, you might just ignore it.)  My great uncle grows tomatoes, but by season end he’s so full of them they crowd every counter in his basement (and he has a complete wrap around wet bar).  Even a small well maintained plant can produce more food than most people want.

    [This is explained on the group’s web page, which I linked to. -Raymond]
  8. Nathan says:

    But Ray, they say on the link you gave, "We are interested in pesticide-free apples, pears and plums that are in good condition. Remember, if you wouldn’t want to eat it yourself, we can’t accept it. We can help you with fruit tree care as well."

    I’m all for pesticide free, but I’d be really surprised/impressed if some joe-homeowner, even with their help, can produce apples/pears/plums I’d want to eat myself, with out those chemicals.

    Our co-op/CSA ("sustainable organic, but not certified") had apples last week, and there were worms in some. Sorry, that’s a turn off for me. I’ll take cancer and chemicals over worms in my apples. Bug scars on tomatoes don’t bother me, bad spots in peaches can be cut out, but worms. Ick.

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