Cherries & Transparent apples: First City Fruit harvests of the season!

It’s officially here — the City Fruit harvest season!  We kicked off the 2022 harvest on Monday, June 27th with a cherry harvest of Bing cherries!  Thanks to tree owners that registered their cherry trees with us and our team of wonderful harvest interns, we’ve surpassed last year’s cherry harvest total of 17 pounds by a whopping 129 pounds!  The majority of the 146 pounds of cherries harvested this year went to partnering food banks within 2 miles of the harvest locations and included varieties such as Bing and Rainier.  

We also harvested a good number of sour cherry trees this year, largely thanks to new diversion avenues!  Sour cherries — which are often too tart to be eaten fresh and therefore are not always harvested — can be cooked into baked goods or jellies and pressed for drinks like sours. We are hopeful that by continuing to explore diversion pathways for sour cherries and pest-damaged Bing & Rainier cherries, we can harvest more of these fruits in the future and divert more food from waste.

Washed, sorted, and packaged cherries ready for delivery to White Center Food Bank.
We process sour cherries and buggy Rainier & Bing cherries by washing, de-pitting, and halving the fruit. They are then frozen for later use.
UW Intern Hannah harvests Bing cherries from atop a treehouse!
SYEP Intern Calvin harvesting cherries on his first day out harvesting with us!
TIPS Intern Eloise harvesting sour cherries!

Similarly, thanks to diversion partners like FareStart, we’ve been able to continue to harvest Transparent apples — an early varietal of apple that originates from Latvia in the 1850s.  In notes shared from Holy Cross orchard steward, Micki Larimer, the White Transparent apple (also known by the name ‘Papirovka’) is famous for making especially creamy and flavorful applesauce.  Micki shares that the apple’s flavor is light and lively — a refreshing taste with verve and snap.  When eaten at their peak, the flesh is crisp, medium-coarse, and juicy, softening with greater maturity.  The flavor is also sometimes described as tart, with some lime, a little gingery spice, and occasional hints of lemonade.  Micki notes that their is some variation between individual Transparents and encourages that you try more than one! 

So far, we’ve harvested 779 pounds of Transparent apples — 169 pounds of White Transparents coming from the orchard at Holy Cross and the remainder from several registered fruit trees across Seattle.  The fruit will go to FareStart for applesauce processing, which will then be shared with local area public schools as part of schools’ meal programs.  Last year, FareStart helped us divert hundreds of pounds of Transparent and buggy apples from waste, and in the process produced over 10,000 servings of applesauce!  We are excited to continue this partnership and welcome outreach from other groups or organizations that could help us process additional buggy fruit!

UW Intern Ozi poses with a full harvest bucket of Transparent apples.
City Fruit volunteers Tina and Bu harvest Transparent apples at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Bellevue.

It is not too late to join our harvest and be part of our urban food system.  Please register your fruit tree with us, or consider harvesting your trees, vines, or bushes and sharing fruit through our U-Pick Program!  You can also support harvest efforts this summer by joining a public orchard harvest near you — more to be scheduled soon!