Meet the City Fruit Harvesters!

Sep 27th

By lisa

Meet the City Fruit Harvesters: Luke, Asya & Sam

 

City Fruit has harvested a whopping 36,121 lbs of fruit so far this year, already exceeding last year’s total amount. The vast majority of it was harvested by City Fruit’s awesome harvest crew- Luke, Asya, Sam and Christian.

 

We are constantly amazed by what this small crew of harvesters can accomplish. They work long hours, day-in day-out, visiting multiple homes every day and fielding countless inquiries from tree owners. And their job is not easy. In addition to the huge volume of fruit that they have to harvest, there are also many factors beyond their control. They often have to fight the traffic, uncooperative weather, dwindling daylight and other factors that could further complicate their operations. And, just to make things more interesting, trees don’t tell us in advance exactly when their fruit will be ready for harvest! Figuring out the most efficient way to harvest as much fruit as possible at its optimum ripeness is an art form. None of us understand it but Luke seems to know just how to make it work!

 

But perhaps what’s most amazing about our harvesters is that they do it all with a big smile and the greatest attitude. That’s because they believe in City Fruit’s work and their role in it. By picking fruit that otherwise may not be utilized and sharing it with those who can benefit from it, and by being part of that process, we are all connected with one another and making a positive difference in our community. We are so fortunate to have such dedicated and capable harvesters who can make it all possible!

 

Now, we would like you all to get to know our fabulous harvesters a little bit, so we asked them a few questions…

 

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Luke, Harvest & Community Outreach Manager 

Q.   When people ask what your job is, how do you explain?

A.    I organize the harvest and distribution of fruit that grows throughout the city of Seattle.  I pick fruit from people's backyards and share it with whoever wants it! Our main places of donation are food banks, senior centers, community centers, lunch programs, etc. 

Q.   What’s your favorite part of your job?

A.    I have two: being up in a tree on a cool, sunny day and anytime I am donating fruit. The connection to the people who are doing the direct work of providing food to those who are food insecure keeps me motivated to be out there harvesting! Also, I like a good cider pressing.

Q.   What’s the most challenging part of your job?

A.    TRAFFIC.... Our city is tricky to move around in and while we do plan our routes to be as efficient as possible, you'll inevitably get hit with some rough traffic at times.

Q.   What do you think is the most surprising aspect of your job that most people don’t know about?

A.    What I think is most unique is how for like 5 months, the city is my office. In a day I'll pick fruit, drop into a library to write some emails, distribute produce, stop into a coffee shop and do some reporting etc. It's not something folks don't know but I find it really cool. Also, I don't think a lot of people know about our super cool partnership with Seattle Cider Co. 

Q.   What was the most memorable harvest so far this year?

A.    Partnering with the International Rescue Committee has been one of my most favorite parts of the harvest. I'd say when I met up with them and picked like 600 pounds of plums in 2 hours from a backyard with 14 plum trees was by far the most memorable harvest experience for me.

Q.   Which fruit do you like harvesting most?

      A.    FIGS!!!!! Also, Shiro Plums

Q.   What’s worst- heat, smoke, rain, wind or animals?

A.    I don't really mind any of them. I worry about the health of the other harvesters so I'd say the smoke. Animals are definitely a bonus! Pups and cats are good harvest buddies. I also love picking in the rain as it's a fun relief from the hot hot heat of summer.

 

Asya, Harvester

Q.   What’s your favorite part of your job?

A.   My favorite part of my job is probably seeing the great variety of fruit that grows in this city. And, of course, the unlimited opportunities to snack on delicious fresh-picked fruit! My favorite moments are taking a break from harvesting while I'm standing up on the top of the ladder, looking at one of the many amazing views of the mountains we have in Seattle, and munching on one of the fruits that I have just plucked off of the tree.

Q.   Which fruit do you like harvesting most?

A.   In the beginning of the season it was plums, then it was figs, and now I'd probably say grapes. I like the harvest the most when I have to pay a little bit of extra attention to what I am harvesting in order to make sure that I don't squish it. Sorry, apples, harvesting you is a little less fun!

Q.   What’s worst- heat, smoke, rain, wind or animals?

A.   Surprisingly, I'd have to say that out of these options, wind is the worst. Especially when I've climbed up to the tippy top of my tallest ladder and all of a sudden the branch I'm holding on to starts swaying... that is probably the scariest.

 

Sam, Harvester

Q.   What’s your favorite part of your job?

A.   My favorite part of the job is talking to people about their fruit! I think that encouraging people to engage with their fruit and their community at large is a huge part of what we do. I get excited when people seem to genuinely care about making sure that as little goes to waste as possible, what we do with the fruit, and how they can be a part of it. Even if it's just a conversation about what they like about their fruit tree, tree owners that are passionate about food are great to be around!

Q.   Which fruit do you like harvesting most?

A.    I like harvesting figs the most. Twisting them off the tree is super satisfying, and even though they can get pretty goopy on the ground, their smell and taste are pretty hard to beat.

Q.   What’s worst- heat, smoke, rain, wind or animals?

A.   Rain and wind I can deal with, but the smoke this summer kinda got to me! Love animals though. Always good to have a friendly dog around when I'm harvesting in someone's backyard.

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