The first harvest of the season is just days away. Finally!
We have been eagerly waiting for the arrival of the harvest season for months. But, of course, we haven’t just been waiting. We have been busy getting ready for the harvest by netting and protecting fruit trees from pest damage so that they can grow healthy, consumable fruit that we can donate to our community partners.
This year marks the 5th anniversary since City Fruit launched our annual Save Seattle’s Apples campaign in an effort to protect apple (and pear) trees in our city that are highly susceptible to pest damage. Fruit with pest damage is deemed not suitable for donating to food banks, so taking proper pest prevention measures is essential when we are trying to grow more food for the community.
In a typical year we would host a series of work parties and enlist our volunteers’ help to net large trees in the orchards. But, of course, this is not a normal year. Sadly we were not able to host any work parties this spring, but that didn’t stop us from Saving Seattle’s Apples! By working with a few of our community partners, we were able to net about 80 fruit trees while social distancing, including 22 trees at CitySoil Farm, about a dozen at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, and half a dozen at the Good Shepherd Center.
New partnership with CitySoil Farm
A few months ago, our Harvest and Community Engagement Manager Juan was invited to CitySoil Farm in Renton to help assess their fruit tree care plan. CitySoil Farm is a 1.5 acre demonstration farm located at the King County Wastewater Treatment Plant where they teach sustainable farming and grow fresh produce for the neighboring communities. The food grown at CitySoil is accessible to everyone including their volunteers and students, but the majority of the food is donated to the White Center Food Bank who happens to be one of City Fruit’s community partners.
Normally we support local food banks by donating our fruit. But this year, in addition to fruit donations, we are also supporting the White Center Food Bank by offering our expertise in growing healthy fruit at CitySoil Farm. CitySoil Farm has about 30 fruit trees, including many apple trees. A few weeks ago, Juan headed back to CitySoil Farm and helped net 22 of them so that food bank customers can enjoy delicious, pest-free fruit later this year!