As winter sets in, the harvest season has officially come to a close! Despite the cold spring impacting fruit production this year, we harvested nearly 31,000 pounds of fruit! With a team of seasonal harvesters and interns, we harvested from hundreds of residential fruit trees and 10 public orchards across the city. We also developed new partnerships and increased the capacity of our Harvest Program!
With funding from the Boeing Employee Community Fund, we purchased a new harvest vehicle in June! Our new hybrid minivan gives us the capacity to transport multiple harvesters, ladders, and several crates of fruit at once. This added vehicle greatly reduces our carbon footprint, and increases the efficiency of our Harvest Team.
This year we harvested a variety of fruits, including apples, plums, quince, Asian pears, blueberries, kiwis, persimmons, figs, cherries, and more. This fruit was shared at 20 of our “Fruit-For-All” events, and with 25 community partners including local food banks, meal programs, community organizations, and elementary schools. Our Fruit-For-Alls were hosted at community centers, P-Patches, and farmers markets. We served 1,414 community members at our 20 Fruit-For-All events, which were hosted at the High-Point P-Patch, the Delridge and Queen Anne farmers markets, and the Ballard, Garfield, Meadowbrook, and Van Asseslt community centers.
With the support of our interns, our new partnership with Ridwell, and donations of containers from the community, we were able to package the majority of all delicate fruits (grapes, berries, plums, figs, cherries) before distributing them to food banks and at our Fruit-For-All events. This process helped us protect the quality of fruit during the distribution process, to ensure we provided fruit to the community in the best condition possible.
We are also excited to announce that we now have a variety of partners who can process all of the fruit that we would otherwise compost (due to bruising, pest-damage, and overripeness) into applesauce, jams, jellies, cider, gin, and baked goods! Our current list of diversion partners includes: FareStart, Seattle Cider, Greenwood Cider, Dirty Couch Brewing, Copperworks Distilling Company, Salmonberry Goods, Dahlia Bakery, and Shorewood High School’s Culinary Program.
Furthermore, this year we were also thrilled to receive a USDA grant, supporting our efforts to process fruit at volunteer events! Throughout the summer and fall, we hosted volunteer events with groups such as Salesforce and Slalom, to create plum jams, crabapple jellies, apple cakes and pies at our community partners’ kitchens. We shared these items at our Fruit-For-All events, and with our meal program partners, giving us the ability to provide fruit-based foods to our community during the late fall and winter months.
We were so grateful to be joined by University of Washington Environmental Studies interns, Hannah Whobrey, Ozi Goldstein, and Maria Gee; Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) intern, Amani Jones; Youth Employment & Service Learning (YESL) intern, Calvin Wu; Teens in Public Service (TIPS) intern, Eloise Kamees, and our Seasonal Harvester, Riley Wilmart. Riley has now joined City Fruit full time as our Programs & Special Projects Coordinator!
Thank you to all of the tree owners who signed-up for our Harvest Program this year and the volunteers who joined us! Your support makes our Harvest Program possible. If you’d like to register your tree for next year’s harvest season, it’s not too early! Click here to learn more.