Archive for the ‘Education’ Category


Great pies and weather at Festival of Fruit

Saturday turned out to be a great day for one of the biggest Festivals of Fruit yet.

The crowd turned up for Susan Dolan’s fascinating talk about her work researching fruit trees in the U.S. for the National Park service.

Susan Dolan presentation

It was a good thing that we had a hand cranked cider press, thanks to Will, since we had no power at the Environmental Learning Center! As usual, there was lots of interest around the press and lots of people contributed their muscle to working it.

We had lots of help pressing cider

More helpers!

The pie contest was also a big hit, with 13 entries this year.

Our fearless pie contest organizer


The crowd gathered to hear who the winners were and to line up for a taste.

Waiting for a taste

Thanks to everyone who came and especially to all the folks from Friends of Piper’s Orchard who worked so hard to pull this day together! Until next year…


Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair this weekend–see you there!

Saturday is going to be a spectacular, sunny, warm day in Seattle. Why not get outside for a some fun, food, music and urban farming education, and a cup of freshly pressed apple cider, at the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair. City Fruit will be there with many other sustainability organizations, nurseries, local chefs, authors – and many more.

The event will be on Saturday, September 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Meridian Park, behind the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103. We will be in booth 91, and hope you stop by and say hi while you are enjoying the Fair.


Tree-Planting Class to be held this Weekend

Fall is the best time to plant fruit trees, so now is the time to learn the best way to plant them! Planting trees the right way and caring for them correctly increases their chance of survival and will bring them into production sooner.  Choosing the right type of fruit and tree variety for your site means both your tree and you will be happier.

This Saturday, November 20, we’re excited to host Jana Dilley teaching Planting and Caring for Young Fruit Trees at the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

Jana is the City of Seattle’s reLeaf Program Manager.  Remember all the posts we’ve written about the Trees for Neighborhoods project that gave away trees to Ballard and South Seattle residents?  Jana coordinates that program, and as part of it, has taught many trainings on how to plant and care for young trees.  She has a master’s degree in Forestry and in Public Affairs and has organized community tree-planting events in Seattle and California.

The class covers site selection, fruit tree selection (how large? What type?), where to buy fruit trees, how to plant them and how to care for young trees.  We’ll also be planting two trees at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, to get some hands-on experience.

If you can’t make the class this weekend, make sure to check out our Quick Reference Guides on planting and basic tree care before you plant your trees.  The “Best Fruit Varieties” fact sheet will be coming soon too!


Cider: The New Microbrew

This weekend temperatures got especially chilly, and I, for one, turned my heat on for the first time (at the office too—my fingers are getting cold just typing this!).  So when I mention “cider” you might be thinking of warm, spiced apple juice, which you might serve while carving pumpkins.

I’m thinking of another delicious beverage—some would say the only cider—or “hard” cider.  “Hard” is in quotation marks, because to most of the world and to cider enthusiasts in the US, cider is always fermented apple juice.  Like the warm, spiced apple juice, hard cider fits especially well with the flavors and activities of the season, and you’ll see it on seasonal taps and store shelves in the fall.  Real cider isn’t always sweet, and has a balanced bitterness that comes from special cider apple varieties.  Some cheaper ciders are made from concentrate, producing an inferior product—think of buying wine produced from concentrate.  Small, local cider-makers are showing up all around the Northwest, putting the time and care into their products that vinters or microbrewers do.

Cider is generally considered a specialty, niche product these days, but it was the drink of choice in colonial America.  When drinking water was unsafe, apple cider was consumed with meals as a safe alternative.  It was also an easy way to preserve large quantities of apples, which were readily available to many homesteaders.  Cider’s decline began when the industrial revolution brought people off farms and into the city. With an influx of German immigrants and increased grain production, beer began to take over.  Prohibition delivered the coup de grace to the cider industry in the US.

Cider is coming back now, pushed by local eating and gourmet trends.  In Washington, cider makes a lot of sense, and WSU suggests that cider apples are an excellent alternative fruit for Western Washington growers.  Other famous cider regions have maritime climates like ours—think Normandy and western England—so many cider apple varieties grow best in this climate.

With “homesteading” coming back in an urban form, homebrewed cider is coming back too.  Apple surpluses can be pressed with a borrowed cider press (or small quantities can be juiced in a juicer), and then fermented to become cider.  Cellar Homebrew on Greenwood has books and ingredients for cider-making.  It’s best to have some “bittersharp” apples in your cider to round out the flavor, try asking local cider-makers where to find some.

Ready to taste some ciders?

Rockridge Orchards inspired this post; I had their “X” hopped cider this weekend (talk about a real Washington product), which made an excellent accompaniment to a harvest dinner.  Rockridge sells at several of the local farmer’s markets, including the West Seattle and University Markets, which are open year round.

Another local producer is the Vashon Island Winery, which sells direct from the winery.

The Northwest Cider Association has a list of their members online, which are some of the larger (but still small) “cideries” in the region.

Ivars hosts on annual cider tasting event, this year’s is on November 11 and tickets costs $35.

Bars with rotating taps that feature local microbreweries usually feature a cider in the fall, try Beveridge Place if you’re in West Seattle.


Make a Harvest Pie this Fall

We’re excited to have Tracy Bernal teaching Homemade Harvest Pies for City Fruit this fall.  You may remember Tracey from the Festival of Fruit at Piper’s Orchard, where she was a judge for the pie contest.

Tracey brings together her experience in a unique way that makes her a perfect fit for teaching with City Fruit.  As a former pastry chef and cook, Tracey’s truly an expert in pie-making.  Her restaurant experience includes some of Seattle’s top restaurants: Campagne, Café Septieme, the Palace Kitchen and the Dahlia Bakery.  Currently, she’s a gardener in ornamental landscaping, and she has a special interest in edible landscaping.  She’s active in the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, and she has five types of apples in her own yard.  Tracey’s knowledge of growing apples, apple varieties, and how to use homegrown apples will inform the Homemade Harvest Pies class.  Particularly, she plans to share her experience about putting up fruit for pie-making through the winter.

Registration is limited, and we already have lots of folks signed up for Homemade Harvest Pies, so register today!

Best Apples for Pie

If you’re excited about making pies from your own home-grown fruit, check out the lists below of the best apples for pie-making.  Pie apples should hold their shape during baking, and they should have a good sweet-tart balance.  Combining a very tart apple with a sweeter one will also produce a balanced, well-rounded flavor.  Experimenting is key, since we all have different ideas of what they ideal sweet-tart balance is.

If you’re planting a tree, consider these “Cook’s Choice” varieties recommended Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation for growing in the Puget Sound Bio-Region:

  • Gravenstein
  • Elstar
  • Karmijn de Sonnaville
  • Jonagold (a versatile apple that’s good for eating fresh too)
  • Belle de Boskoop

If you’re buying at the market, these are some other popular pie varieties:

  • Jonathan
  • Braeburn
  • Granny Smith
  • Pink Lady
  • Winesap
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin
  • Newtown Pippin

Two Classes with Kristin Danielsen-Wong

We’re lucky enough to have Kristin Danielsen-Wong teaching two classes for City Fruit this fall: last Saturday’s Drying Fruit at Home, and next Saturday’s What to Do with Green Tomatoes? Kristin is a professional educator and a long-time fruit preserver—rumor has it she tried to eat something from her yard every day for a year, which required a good amount of home preservation techniques.  Sounds like just the right person to teach some City Fruit classes!

If you’ve never been in the classroom at Bradner Gardens Park before, you should certainly take a class there (ahem…Planting and Caring for Young Trees on October 9). On Saturday afternoon we sat in the classroom with the barn-style door wide open to the beautiful fall afternoon, while Kristin passed around samples of dried fruit and showed us techniques and recipes for drying foods. One thing I learned: the best way to dry herbs is simply to hang them upside down in a bundle, away from direct sunlight.  Why did I ever pay so much for a bottle of “Italian Seasoning” at the grocery store? If you missed this class, check out our fact sheet on fruit drying.

Coming up next Saturday, October 2, Kristin will teach What to Do with Green Tomatoes?, something all of us northwest gardeners need to know about.  This year’s growing season has been especially short, so a few recipes and ideas for using green tomatoes will surely be useful. The class will be held at the Jackson Place Cohousing kitchen—we’re very excited about this new venue!  Thank you to all the residents at Jackson Place for letting us use this great facility.

Here’s just one way you can use green tomatoes, from delish.  Sign up for Saturday and learn several more!

Green Tomato Salsa


  • 8 ounce(s) green tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 ounce(s) ripe red tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup(s) fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup(s) snipped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper


  1. In medium bowl, gently stir tomatoes with corn, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors, or up to 8 hours. Drain before serving if chilled longer than 1 hour.

Spotted Wing Drosophila

SWDA New Pest in Town

We’ve made reference to it previously, but more and more we’re getting reports of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) being in WA state — both out east in the orchards and here in the city. It’s kind of a big deal as it’s a new pest and so there are still a lot of experiments with how to deal with it. And it’s attacking soft fruit (peaches, berries, etc.), which have previously escaped things like the Apple Maggot Fly and Coddling Moth. More and more we’re finding it necessary to undertake pest prevention methods for all kinds of fruit.

About Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

The pest is originally from Asia, but has made its way up to Washington from California — it’s rapidly spreading from state-to-state. They are closely resemble the common vinegar fly but the difference is instead of attacking rotting fruit, the SWD attacks perfectly healthy fruit. It was really first seen around Japan and other parts of Asia in the 1930s. The way it works is that females search for soft fruit, land on the fruit, and then lay their eggs — laying as many as 300 eggs in their lifespan and up to 13 generations per season. The larvae then grow inside of the fruit.

University of California has this helpful resource to see photos of the life cycle of the SWD and its impact on fruit.

The economic impact could be somewhat significant for soft fruit and would vary by region. But not enough research has been done to provide an accurate estimate.


We only recommend non-chemical ways at managing existing SWD infestations. If only some fruit is infested, the best approach is to harvest & sort the crop immediately — separating the good from the bad. And to help reduce the number of SWD in the future, we suggest placing infested fruit in a sturdy, sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash. Also, be sure to remove any fruit that has fallen on the ground and any infested fruit remaining on the plants. But do not compost! This will not kill the insects.


As this is somewhat of a new pest to the U.S., there are a lot of tests going on as to the best method to prevent SWD infestations and protect vulnerable fruit. Oregon State University has a great resource for backyard growers. The best known approaches so far….

  • Traps: There are a number of different types of traps people are trying, but below is a video for one in particular. These will not only help you capture SWDs, but also monitor how many are in your area.

  • Netting: A few places have suggested setting up netting over your soft fruit plans and trees prior to the fruit developing.
  • Habitat & Varieties: One way to prevent the SWD is by selecting thick-skinned fruit varieties that are more resistant to the pests. Also, to modify any other plants you have in your yard that might attract the SWD — thus making it less likely that they’ll find your habitat attractive.

So keep an eye out for this pest. We’ve already heard from folks about it attacking their raspberries and currants. If you find it in your backyard, definitely drop us a line ([email protected]) — we’d love to better understand how and where this infestation is happening so we can help work to manage it better.


Fruit Q&A: Currants, Pests, & Ladders

Don & John are back, answering more questions from readers. This time the focus is on berries, the pests that love them, and where to find a good deal on orchard ladders.

Dear Don & John,
My neighbor and myself grow both Red Currants and Gooseberries.  This year we both have a bumper crop of fruit setting on our healthy, leafy bushes.  We were very excited, until we noticed that something (an insect?!) has carefully laid eggs in every single berry. You can visually see the damage on the outside of the not-yet ripe fruit and inside there is a small, white grub growing.
What pest would do this to Ribes family fruit and what can we do to discourage this is future years?
Hi Rachel,

Thanks for writing in. We don’t get many currant or gooseberry questions!

You’re instinct about the problem being an insect is probably correct. Currants and gooseberries are usually a pain to grow here because of the Currant Fruit Fly which actually is a small fly which hits the fruit, and the Currant Sawfly which is not a fly but a type of wasp whose larvae look like currant-leaf-colored caterpillars. There’s also a small chance it could be the Spotted Wing Drosophila (which they recently found in WA), but we suspect the larva is more likely the Currant Fruit Fly.

The good news is that there is a non-chemical way to address this issue. You should immediately pick all fruit and remove it from the area – I wouldn’t recommend eating any of them, although if you only juice the fruit, you can still pick clean now and process.

The reason for removing them from the area is that the larvae drop to the ground and overwinter under the bushes, much as apple maggots burrow into ground under apple trees. Removing all the infected fruit may cut the life cycle enough such that you get a clean crop next year. 

And while you can share this information with your neighbor, there’s no telling what the rest of your neighborhood might be doing and there may be infested currants in your area which are not managed and these can re-infest your fruit next year. One way to help against that is to net the shrubs with a fine mesh just after pollination but before fruit begins to form. 

If you want to determine exactly which insect it is, save a handful of fruit, place in large Ziploc bag, store on kitchen counter, keep beady eye on it and see who emerges.  If a small vinegar fly emerges in a couple weeks or so, you have the Spotted Wing Drosophilia.  If no one emerges or rice-sized pupae are seen, you have the fruit worm which won’t emerge until next year.

Hope that helps and good luck with the berries!

Don & John

[email protected]

Dear Don & John,

I actually have two questions built in to one request.

1.  My inherited apple tree (variety yet unknown) has some kind of disease causing the leaves on many branches to curl and look nasty.  How do I treat it without chemicals?  Is it too late? 

2.  Do you know where the best place is to get a reasonably priced orchard ladder (tri-pod style)?  Those things are crazy expensive.



Hi Mark,

Thanks for writing in and it looks like you get a 2-for-1 special today!

Your apple tree probably has apple scab, causing some leaf curl and color distortion and you can read all about how to manage that organically at our website. We’ve got some suggested sprays and techniques listed there.

However, if your leaves are tightly curled upward that could be a sign of a new insect, the Apple Leaf Curl Midge, that’s been coming down from British Columbia, Canada. The damage is caused by the new larva feeding on the leaves – which can lead to distorted limb growth, pre-mature leaf dropping, etc. Luckily there is no evidence of reduced quality of fruit.

For a mature tree, you should be safe to ignore it.  For a 1 or 2 year old tree, remove affected leaves to try to save others from curl since it is thought to have 2 generations per year here. We would anticipate that parasitoids will slowly catch up with it and keep it in check.

With regards to the orchard ladders, yeah, they can definitely be pricey but worth it. You should probably be able to get by with a 6-8’ ladder unless your tree is really tall. We’ve found Tallman to be an excellent brand generally, which you can sometimes find used. For new, we purchased ladders for City Fruit at Horizon in Bellevue, WA, but Wilson Irrigation in Yakima is also a good bet.

Hope that helps and good luck with the apple tree!

Don & John

[email protected]


Get a Free Fruit Tree

I’ve seen a few different things going around the web recently about how you can get your hands on a free fruit tree so I thought I’d help share them here with some additional info about caring for trees. Keep in mind that there are strings attached to getting one of these free fruit trees — but in both cases below, it’s that the trees are used for the good of the community. Can hardly argue with that.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

One of my favorite organizations out there is The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. I’ve written about them previously but as a reminder they are, in their own words:

“… a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Our primary mission is to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world (approximately 3 for every person alive) and encourage their growth under organic standards.”

In order to help them achieve their 3 fruit trees per person, they’re giving away a ton of fruit trees. They have a couple different ways in which you can get them:

  • Fill out this application (Word Doc) for creating an orchard in your community.
  • Submit a project idea to their Communities Take Root contest(in partnership with Dreyer’s Fruit Bars). Then the community gets to vote on which projects receive free fruit trees.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Sorry non-Seattle folks, this one is strictly for the Seattle residents — but it’s worth checking to see if your city offers a similar program.

The Tree Fund provides trees to neighborhoods to “enhance Seattle’s urban forest”. If you & your neighbors get together you can receive 10-40 trees for your community, as well as one fruit tree for yourself (one per household). Your project must be able to demonstrate the capacity to build a stronger, healthier community.

It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors better and improve your community at the same time. Plus think of all the great fruit you’ll get! Check out all the places that received free trees last year. Seattle is serious about improving our city’s urban tree canopy.

When, Where, and How to Plant?

Seattle’s Tree Fund doesn’t do the planting of trees until the fall, which is the perfect time to plant new trees — the temperature is cooler, they’ll get plenty of water. I’m not sure when you’d get the trees from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, but I’d recommend waiting until the summer has passed.

It’s not always easy to know where a fruit tree will do well in a yard — that’s why we’ve put some very useful info up on our website. And don’t forget caring for the fruit tree. It’s not hard, but it does require some know-how and effort. But City Fruit is here to help.

And because I’m a visual learner, I really get the most out of watching someone do something rather than reading about it. For those of you like that out there, here’s a handy video on how to plant a fruit tree.

Now go get yourself & your community some fruit trees and start helping build your city’s urban orchard with a great local food source.


Fruit Q&A: Apple & Plum Questions Answered

We got a couple of good questions in this week for Don & John. They answer both below.  And remember, if you have a question for these guys, drop them an e-mail: [email protected].

 Dear Don & John,

An apple tree on my block is 20-25 years old, pretty much neglected, but has a good crop of apples. I haven’t looked at it closely this spring until today, and was dismayed to see that the apples are all junk – see the photo.

What is the cause of this distortion? The leaves generally look OK, though there are a few curled and gray.

What can I do to help this tree?



Hi Barb….

The photo is great and always helps us provide a more accurate diagnosis. We think there are a couple things going on with your apples.

First, the spots on your apples are probably due to “scab” – a varying collection of fungus. The fact that the apple tree is older and has been neglected doesn’t help, but the wet weather probably had something to do with this as well, giving the fungus more time to establish itself on the fruit.

While problematic, there are organic solutions. The first step is to remove all old leaves from beneath the tree in the fall and put them in the yard waste container, or bury them. Prune out affected twigs, which bear small, blister-like pustules, and put them in the yard waste. Do both of these things in late winter or early spring, before growth begins in the tree.

There are also several organic spray options including sulfur, lime-sulfur, or Bordeaux mixture (copper sulfate plus lime) applied early in the growing season. These are readily available at most nurseries. Spray as soon as the buds show green. And since scab likes damp weather, spray every week until midsummer if the weather is dry. If the summer is wet, spray until 30 days before harvest.

The dimpling on the apples is more difficult to figure out, but it’s most likely a pollination problem – which is a more difficult problem to solve this season. It would be good if you get a lot of bees or other pollinators, as that would help ensure good pollination. Otherwise, next season when the flowers are blooming, take a small brush and a container, shaking some pollen free from the flower, and then using the brush to then apply it to other flowers.

Hope that helps and thanks for writing in.

Don & John

[email protected]

Dear Don & John…

I was cleaning up the ground and fertilizing some of the fruit trees this weekend and I noticed something really odd. All of the plum trees are acting like it’s fall. Several species, all very mature and prolific full-sized trees, have started yellowing and dropping their leaves. 50-60% of the leaves seem to have turned yellow almost overnight. The leaves have brown spots and drop in droves at a simple shake of a branch. I looked for signs of mold or insect damage, but didn’t see anything obvious. They just act like it’s fall.

None of the other fruit trees (cherries, apples, pears, fig) have this issue, though all are suffering somewhat from the weird weather.

Does this have to do with the funky weather we’ve been having? Please help!


Hi Aaron,

You did all the right things in checking what you did. Those are good steps.

And while plum trees in general aren’t producing as much as they did last year, we don’t think the weather is the culprit here, but rather some sort of fungal infection – but it’s difficult to tell without actually seeing the leaves ourselves.

Our best guess is that the fertilizer might be the trigger here. Fruit trees in the Pacific Northwest tend not to need too much fertilizer beyond specific nutrients. But too much nitrogen can spur excessive growth, leaving the tree susceptible to fungal infections.

So we suggest holding off on the fertilization for now and seeing what impact that has on the tree in a few weeks. With all fungal infections, it’s a good idea to pick up all the fallen leaves and put them in the yard waste bin – not your home compost or the disease can spread there.

While you might not get a good crop this year, you can most likely improve the quality of the tree health for next year. In the fall, the tree could benefit from a good pruning – targeting the parts of the tree that were infected this year. This should help the tree produce new growth in the spring.

Fungal infections also benefit from various sprays. Because we can’t identify which fungal infection your tree might have, we suggest bringing in a leaf sample to the Center for Urban Horticulture on any Monday from 4pm – 8pm. They have experts on hand who should be able to more accurately identify which fungus is affecting your tree and then recommend the appropriate organic spray – which would be applied next spring.

Hope this helps and thanks for writing in.

Don & John

[email protected]


Does Bagging Fruit Work?

As you’ve read numerous times on our blog, facebook page, and twitter account, we’re big supporters and practitioners of bagging fruit. Just last weekend, in fact, a group of us were at Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park placing foot socks on trees in the historic orchard there.

I’m a big believer in using data and hard evidence to inform where to invest energy, so I started wondering about whether or not all this bagging of fruit really makes a difference.

We’ll be able to tell ourselves a bit after this year’s effort, led by Don Ricks, to place foot socks on apple trees in several parks, but I also found a couple pieces of information that help demonstrate that if used properly, applying foot socks or bags can make a significant difference in yield of quality fruit.

Take this article a few years back in the Seattle Times. The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but compelling. But I also found this article written by the University of Kentucky. Within that they have the image at the top-right of this blog post — showing the results of a several-year apple bagging study. Washington State University Skagit Extention also touts bags as an approved method for preventing apple maggot infestation.

And hey — Ciscoe promotes using them, citing recent research.

Add all that up and it appears that the foot socks and bags are an effective deterrent against apple maggots. It was fun just putting foot socks on the fruit, but would be great to get some tasty fruit out of the deal. We’ll see how the fruit turns out that Don & volunteers have been protecting and we’ll make sure to share our story.


Foot socks: Apple Maggot or Coddling Moth?

Courtesy of OregonLive.comWe’ve been focusing a lot recently on fruit tree pest control, but ’tis the season. As part of that and in the run-up to this weekend’s activities, we wanted to address a question we get a lot: Will my footies help prevent coddling moth as well as apple maggots?

The answer: It depends.

There are a lot of variables that determine whether or not the footies will be effective on coddling moths. Some communities have a more intense infestation than others. But there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:

  • Use super strong footies. There are foot socks that are extra thick to help protect against coddling moth as well as apple maggot.
  • Follow the example of the Portland Home Orchard Society and soak your footies in kaolin clay — a harmless inert organic material — before using them on apples.

No matter what technique you use or which fruit you’re trying to protect, the key is to get out there and start trying different solutions. What’s right in one yard might not work in another.

Either way, the apple maggot is not flying yet and won’t be flying for a few more weeks.  You still have plenty of time to apply your foot sox for that particular pest.

Thanks to Don Ricks for all the great info for this post.


The “Super Fruit” that helps regulate weight gain

courtesy of wikipediaYes, you heard right. There is a new “super fruit” in town and it has an unfortunate name: chokeberry.

At least that’s according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, who’s aim is to “provide a forum in which to hold educational meetings, develop publications, and disseminate biological research results.” They’ve been around for over 100 years and have folks from the American Cancer Association and PhD professors from Penn State & Columbia University among those who sit on their board.

In addition to having some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any measured plant to date, the folks at the USDA also found that their initial investigation “provides evidence that the chokeberry extract inhibits weight gain in insulin-resistant animals and that it modulates multiple genes associated with adipose tissue growth, blood glucose regulation, and inflammatory pathways.” Yes, that’s right — this little berry also helps regulate weight gain.

The shrub is found primarity in the eastern part of North America and serves as an ornamental underbrush most of the time.  And while the berries are attractive, they aren’t very sweet but are used primarily to make wines, jams, and syrups. And here are a few recipes to get you going in that direction.

Here’s a little video about the Aronia (Chokeberry) and how Native Americans harnessed the goodness of this berry and how it fizzled in to obscurity. Slightly melodramatic, but a pretty good history.

I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for chokeberry jam or juice the next time I’m at the shop.


Latest Pest Report & More Chances to Volunteer

As we’ve mentioned previously, our resident fruit tree pest expert, Don Ricks, is constantly monitoring the situation in Seattle. We hope to save a good number of apples and pears from infestation this year, allowing us to put that fruit to good use for the first time. And latest word is that the codling moths have been seen flying around a few Seattle neighborhoods. So getting these footies on to the fruit in the coming days is very important.

We could use your help!

There are a number of opportunities to help apply foot socks to small fruit. The more fruit we cover, the more fruit we can use.

Saturday, May 22

Sunday, May 23

Wednesday, May 29

Saturday, June 5

  • Carkeek Park, the Piper Orchard (map), Noon-3 p.m.  For more info,  keeping checking this site.

Books to make your garden grow…

The Seattle Times’ Pacific section this last Sunday had a good review of books to enhance your urban gardening and cooking experience. Of particular interest: “In “The Urban Pantry,” by gardener/writer Amy Pennington, co-founder of Urban Garden Share in Seattle and producer of KIRO Radio’s “In the Kitchen with Tom and Thierry” with chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau, writes about everything from stocking the pantry to cooking with what you grow.”


Help Apply Footies in Seattle Orchards

Courtsey of Seattle Tree Fruit SocietyAs you know, we at City Fruit are passionate about pest management. We’ve blogged about it, sell City Fruit Shields to fruit tree owners, and are working to apply the footies on healthy trees in the city.

To help us with this, we’re working with Don Ricks to determine the status of apple maggot and coddling moth in the city, when to start applying pest prevention measures, and which to use.

We’re looking for volunteers to help him apply footies to fruit trees in two different orchard in the city:

If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Piper Orchard website or e-mail Don directly.

Courtesy of Friends of Piper's OrchardDon is continually monitoring the situation in Seattle and has sent us this dispatch:

As of today (5/10/10) I am still not seeing codling moth in the trapsbut what I did see over the weekend is that some of the apples at the Good Shepherd Center are now big enough to apply footies to. Everywhere else, the apples are still too small or we haven’t even had complete petal fall yet.

One month ago it looked like we would have an exceptionally early season this year,  but we have had some cooler than usual weather the past few weeks and this has changed the picture. Neither the bugs nor the fruit is developing as fast as we once thought, but we expect the weather ahead to be warming up shortly. Warmer climes, like the Rainier Valley, will need earlier attention. Cooler climes by the Puget Sound, or at higher elevations, might be a little later.

Consequently, the indications are now that the best time to apply foot sox will be the week before and after Memorial Day.

If you are spraying the organics Neem Oil, kaolin clay, or Spinosad products as your first cover spray for the codling moth, then probably mid- to late-May would be a good time to make the first application. This will have to be followed by sprays every 10 days or so until either harvest time or until you have covered them with foot sox. 

The apple maggot fly will probably be flying in early- to mid-June, but stay tuned for further updates on when the fly is flying and (later in the season) when the fruit will be ripening.     


Get ready for all that fruit coming your way!

Seattle Tilth, located at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, room 140 (Senior Center), Seattle, WA 98103
is offering the following great workshop:

The Master Food Preservation Educator Training will provide trainees with the knowledge and skills to train others on safe methods of food preservation. The class series will include food preservation history, food borne illness overview, canning techniques for fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, pickling and fermenting, freezing and dehydrating procedures, and teaching strategies. The course will be taught during six Saturday classes that will include one part lecture, one part kitchen practicum, and one part teach-back activities to build teaching techniques and skills. Upon completion of the course attendees will be certified by Seattle Tilth to teach Food Preservation for 3 years. The course will be taught by Susy Hymas, a Master Food Preserver and Nutrition Educator with 30 plus years of food preservation experience. For more information about other Seattle Tilth classes, visit our website.
COST: $350; payment plans and some scholarship assistance are available.
Dates: May 8, 15, 22, June 5, 12, 19, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
To register, download an application form and mail it in with your payment.
To get to their website, click here



More resources for fruit tree nurturers

One of our board members attended a workshop by the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation and was just blown away by their “seriousness” and the depth of their knowledge!

To educate yourself more about your fruit trees, to find information on problems you may be having, be sure to check them out. Let us know is you need further help…we love your trees


Paul Krugman on Feasible Green Economies

In this last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Paul Krugman, the noted economist and columnist, wrote a lengthy explication of how converting to a green economy is not only the right thing to do, but is affordable. I highly recommend taking the time to read this article. Here is the link. And, as usual, reading the comments provides valuable insight into the thought processes of our fellow human beings…..


We, the people, are doing so much good!

Alleycat Acres posted a great story about The Ground Up Project with whom they are going to partner at the Yesler Terrace housing group. Will Allen visited with them when he was in town. They are creating plans for a green community that suit and reflect the structure of this residential shape and form, not some generic ideal. They are involving and training teens. Check them out! Offer to get involved, lend a hand, be engaged!