Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sharing the Harvest

Enough about Christmas. Consider the following:

"...most of the fruit that makes it into our grocery stores is transported great distances (1,000+ miles on average). All this energy, while a large percentage of fruit in people’s backyard simply goes to waste because most homeowners lack the time and interest to properly share or store this food."

I read this at a website dedicated to promoting urban harvesting at http://environmentalsurvival.com/ .

In my own backyard, about a hundred apples of the almost extinct Winesap variety perished in an early freeze. I picked them as we used them, but I wasn't fast enough. One morning I woke up and the frost was half an inch thick on my porch, the tree full of brown and mushy apples. I'm not the only perpetrator; fruit trees are ubiquitous in my area, and yards full of rotten, fallen fruit just as common.

I don't buy fruit that is grown outside of a 50- mile radius. There's no need to. This severely limits our citrus intake, but we can gorge on plums, pears, and apples without leaving my yard. The wasted apples are not contributing to emissions, but I know someone out there would have been happy to pick some free fruit.

Here is my idea to remedy this: I want to form a "fruit ring" among friends in my area. As fruits ripen, we can have "picking parties", allowing families to socialize and take home a crate of free, organic fruit. Because various species and types of fruit trees ripen at different times, this could lead to a summer of free fruit while eliminating waste. Harvests were traditionally a social occasion, so this would preserve a dying aspect of our agrarian past.

If you don't feel like making harvest into a summer-long party, you can always offer the fruit on freecycle. I saw many offers for "you pick it" fruit, and there was always such a long list of willing takers that I didn't get any.


Burbanmom said...

What an AWESOME idea! Nothing like a pickin' party to get friends together! :-) Let us know how it works out!

Emily the Great and Terrible said...

Yep, I will use any excuse to have a party! And free food always tastes better.

Green Bean said...

I love the idea! Some local moms (unfortunately, not local enough for me to justify the 30 minute drive) do this in the summer. They then have canning parties and preserve their food for the upcoming winter.

Emily the Great and Terrible said...

I would love to have a canning party! I'm a little afraid of canning, just because I haven't done it since I was a child helping my grandmother. Some experienced company would inspire me to try it.