Archive for the ‘Harvesting Fruit’ Category


Baby Apples Arrive at Linden Orchard

FullSizeRenderBaby apples have arrived at Linden Orchard! Small apples, about a dime in size are starting to appear on some of the orchard’s six apple trees.

It’s very normal for apple trees to bloom and develop fruit at varying times, depending on the variety.

The impact of our thinning work is evident on the trees. Working with the Linden Orchard P-Patch, we thinned blossoms on the apple trees during our Save Seattle’s Apples kick-off event in April. Rather than several apple clusters developing, single apples are growing.  This makes the bagging and pest prevention process much easier! It also helps produce bigger, better fruit!

Now is the right time to cover your baby apples! Need more details on where to get free pest barriers or other information? Check out our Save Seattle’s Apples site.

Catherine Morrison is the executive director of City Fruit. 





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Favorite Fruit of the Presidents – Thomas Jefferson

We begin our President’s Day series of blogs by City Fruit staff members with a focus on Thomas Jefferson and his favorite fruit.

Heath Cling Peach

Heath Cling Peach

My husband is a long-time admirer of Thomas Jefferson so we have had plenty of conversations about our third president and his personally designed Virginia home, Monticello. When investigating the Monticello orchards, I first focused only on Jefferson’s favorite apples, the Esopus Spitzenburg and Newtown Pippin. Thought maybe I’d plant those varieties of apples in honor of the man and his orchard … haven’t yet.

But this week I dug deeper into Mr. Jefferson’s fruit fancies and smiled when I learned that he and I share the same favorite fruit: the lovely, delicate, versatile, scrumptious, elusive but not impossible to grow in our climate peach.

Peaches, native to China, were introduced to North America in the 16th century by Spanish or French settlers. At Jefferson’s South Orchard at Monticello he planted over 1,000 fruit trees, including 38 new peach cultivars. By 1811 the orchard had 160 peach trees, by far the most of any fruit growing there. Peach cultivars that Jefferson planted in the Monticello orchard included American originals such as Heath Cling, Oldmixon Cling and Free, Morris’ Red Rareripe, and Indian Blood Cling.

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Indian Blood Cling Peach

Jefferson’s abundant peaches were made into a cider-like beverage called mobby, which was often distilled into brandy. Or they were juiced and mixed with tea, or peeled and pickled, or sprinkled with sugar and dried in the sun.

Not surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson also created the first American recipe for ice cream, and had it served often at his homes throughout his lifetime.

So for President’s Day, enjoy a very President Jeffersonian fruit dessert: Mr. Jefferson’s Ice Cream Sundae with Brandied Peaches and Praline Crumbles.

Even Thomas Jefferson had trouble getting some fruit cultivars to grow at Monticello. If you want to be successful growing fruit in the Seattle climate, check out the “Best Fruits for Western Washington Yards” Quick Reference Guide on the City Fruit website, under Resources.

Barb Burrill is the Director of Orchard Stewardship at City Fruit


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Walnut Date Torte

walnut date torteWalnut Date Torte


Active time: 30 min

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

Servings: Makes 8 servings


1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (1/2 pound), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups walnuts (5 ounces), toasted and cooled
3/4 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cups matzo meal or equivalent amount of country-style bread
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature for 30 minutes

Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream
Garnish: powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously grease a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan with softened butter or vegetable oil and dust with some matzo meal, knocking out excess.

Pour hot water over dates in a large bowl and let stand 15 minutes to soften.

Pulse walnuts in a food processor until chopped, then add 1/4 cup sugar and pulse until nuts are finely ground. Add matzo meal (2/3 cup), zest, cardamom, and salt and pulse until combined.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a slow stream, beating until whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Whisk yolks into date mixture. Fold one third of yolk mixture into whites, then fold in remaining yolk mixture gently but thoroughly. Fold all of nut mixture into batter.

Spoon batter into cake pan and bake until golden and springy to the touch and cake just begins to pull away from side of pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Cook’s note: Cake can be made 2 days ahead and kept, in a sealed bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

We’d love to get you engaged in the City Fruit family! Check out upcoming events, become an ambassador to manage the fruit trees in your neighborhood and get your community involved, sign up to volunteer, or become a member to support City Fruit monthly or annually.

This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Pumpkin-Ginger Crumb Cake

For today’s holiday recipe post, we are venturing from fruit a bit and focusing on another seasonal ingredient: the pumpkin! Enjoy! This is a great addition to your pumpkin repertoire! Share with your friends on Twitter



Fresh ginger adds special flavor to this moist and spicy cake.  Serve plain or with whipped cream.
Preparation time: 30 min
Baking time: 35 min
Yield: 15 servings


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large mixing bowl and cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup crumbs in small bowl; stir in walnuts. Set aside for topping.

Add baking powder, ginger root and soda to remaining crumb mixture in mixer bowl; mix lightly. Add pumpkin, milk and eggs. Beat at medium speed until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).

Pour batter into greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with walnut-crumb mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*Substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

TIP: This cake freezes well. Cut into serving pieces before freezing, if desired.


This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Ilva’s Danish Apple Cake


Apples – 4 cups sliced or cubed
Sugar – approximately 1/2 cup
Vanilla Sugar – 1 teaspoon
Bread – about a quarter loaf, enough to make 2 cups of bread crumbs
Butter – 4 tablespoons
Heavy Cream (for whipping) – 1 cup

Cook apples in a small pot over medium heat with approximately 1/2 cup water, 1/8 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar.  Make sure the apple mixture isn’t too liquid-y.  Once the apples soften, mash them with a potato masher and remove from heat.  They should look like chunky apple sauce.  Let apple mixture cool.

Cut bread into bread crumbs, approximately 1/4″ cubes, or chop up in food processor to desired coarseness. Mix bread crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar.  Melt butter in pan over medium/low heat, until lightly browned.  Add bread crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar and toast in butter until golden in color and crispy (be sure to stir bread crumbs while toasting).  Let bread crumb mixture cool.  Stir occasionally while cooling to prevent crumbs from sticking together.

Just before serving:

● Whip heavy cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar.
● Layer apples and bread crumbs in a deep bowl.
● Top with whipped cream.


● Any type of apple can be used.
● The amount of sugar can be adjusted for personal preference and type of apple used.
● The proportion of bread crumbs to apple mixture can also be adjusted for personal preference.


Melissa Poe is a member of City Fruit’s Board of Directors. She recently discovered this tasty apple cake recipe courtesy of her neighbor.  The recipe convinced her of the joy of warm apples and share with your friends on Twitter


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Seville Orange Tart

Winter is the perfect time to prepare citrus desserts! This Seville Orange Tart looks lovely, tastes divine, and is quite easy. Share with your friends on Twitter

seville oranges

Seville Oranges


The pastry can be made well in advance. Serves up to eight.
The pastry:
120g unsalted butter
100g light brown caster sugar
2 egg yolks
140g plain flour
A pinch of salt
24cm tart ring
1 egg

● Cream the butter and sugar until light and aerated (this is best done with the blending arm of an electric mixer). Add the egg yolks one by one and beat until amalgamated. Add the sieved flour and the salt and very gently knead into a paste without overworking the flour. Shape into a slightly flattened ball, wrap in film and refrigerate for one hour.
● Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Allowing extra for the depth of the tin and to overlap the sides a little, roll it out to a disc of at least 27cm in diameter. Carefully drop the pastry into the ring, making sure it fits right into the corners and hangs over the edge of the ring at every point. Do not cut off this overhang. Make absolutely sure there are no holes in the pastry, using any excess overhang to carry out repairs. Refrigerate the case for 30 minutes.
● Line the interior of the case with greaseproof paper or foil and baking beans. Bake in a moderate (180C/355F) preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper from the case and return to the oven for five minutes to finish cooking the base.
● Beat the egg with a tablespoon of milk and brush the interior of the case the minute it comes out of the oven and is still very hot. Return the shell to the oven for three or four minutes to bake the egg coating and thus ensure there are no holes in the case.
● Allow to cool a little.

The filling:
5 Seville oranges
4 eggs plus 1 yolk
150g caster sugar
150ml double cream
50g caster sugar for the syrup
Icing sugar for dusting

● Very finely grate the zest of three of the oranges into a bowl and then squeeze well and strain the juice into the bowl. Whisk together the eggs and yolk and the sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mix is smooth. Pour in the double cream. Mix well before stirring in the juice and zest.
● Lower the oven temperature to 150C/300F. Place the tart tin on the middle shelf of the oven a third of the way out of the oven. Carefully pour in the mixture and slide it into the oven. It will take about 40 minutes to cook. If the surface threatens to color, cover it with foil. To test, give the tray a nudge – there should be no sign of liquid movement beneath the surface of the tart.
● While the tart cooks, peel the zest of the remaining two oranges. Cut into fine strips. Put in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then strain and refresh them in cold water. Repeat this operation and then dissolve the 50g of sugar in 150ml of water. Bring this syrup to a boil and then poach the blanched strips gently until they are well candied. Drain over a sieve.
● Allow the tart to cool a little before sawing off the overhang with a serrated knife and gently lifting off the tart ring. Transfer the tart to a plate only once it has completely cooled and refrigerate. Dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar and serve chilled with the candied zest and no other accompaniment.


This recipe was contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Pumpkin Flan with Candied Seeds

For today’s holiday recipe post, we are venturing from fruit a bit and focusing on another seasonal ingredient: the pumpkin! Enjoy! 


Pumpkin Flan with candied seeds
10 servings

Foflanr the caramel:

1 cup sugar

For the flan:

2 cups canned or baked pumpkin or (preferably) squash

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

2 cups whipping cream

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt sugar to create caramel. Coat the mold (ungreased 7-8 cup dish or pudding mold) with the caramel. Process the other ingredients and pour into the prepared mold.

Bake mold in 325°F oven in water in baking pan about 2 hours 10 minutes =OR= (preferably) set mold in larger covered pan of water on stove top and boil gently for about 2 hours. First, set an inverted saucer or rack under the mold to prevent the direct contact of the mold and the bottom of the pan which could otherwise burn the caramel on the bottom of the mold. Custard is set when center temperature reaches 175° F.

Cool 1 hour; transfer to refrigerator and chill until very cold, preferably overnight. Invert flan onto serving dish. Sprinkle with candied pumpkin seeds just before serving.

Candied pumpkin seeds

Two sheets of parchment paper at least 8 inches square

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

½ tea
¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne

¼ teaspoon salt

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Sit in two tablespoons of sugar. Cook without stirring until sugar is caramelized. Add seeds. Cook, stirring, until golden. Add ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt. If mixture crystallizes, slightly reduce heat and continue stirring until it caramelizes again. Transfer to one sheet of parchment paper set on a heat-proof cutting board and cover with second sheet. Use a rolling pin to flatten the caramelized seeds gently until the candied mixture is no thicker than the individual seeds themselves. Let cool and then break apart.

The candied seeds are great on their own, like a brittle or over ice cream.

This recipe contributed by Hazel Singer, vice president, City Fruit Board of Directors. 


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Two Apple Shrub Recipes

This recipe shows a cold process, but some shrubs are cooked (see this recipe from Amy Pennington for a cooked Concord Grape and Lavender Shrub on our site) and some undergo additional fermentation. Again, the field for experimentation is wide! For more ideas, see Slow Food’s Ark of Taste pinterest page, or consider checking out this new cookbook all about shrubs: Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times.


Simple Apple Shrub

Recipe by Leslie Seaton of Slow Food Seattle

Yield ~14 ounces

2 cups peeled, cored apples (choose a well-balanced sweet/tart, firm, flavorful variety like Honeycrisp)

1 ½ cup sugar (regular white or raw unbleached both work)

1 ¾ cup raw apple cider vinegar

Optional: spice/spices (some to consider: 1 tsp allspice berries, 2 sticks cinnamon, 3 star anise, or 5 cloves)


Shred or finely matchstick the apples. Layer into glass jar with the sugar (start with a layer of apples). Place lid on jar and shake well to distribute the sugar throughout the apple. (Some sugar will collect on bottom of jar, this is okay.) Leave out jar (with lid on) for 24 hours, shaking occasionally. The apples should have begun to release some liquid to combine with the sugar. Add the vinegar, spices if using, replace lid, shake vigorously again to combine all the ingredients. Place jar in cool area or in refrigerator for 3-7 days, shaking daily. Taste and when flavors are well combined, strain liquids from solids through a fine sieve, squeezing the pulp well to remove as much liquid as possible. Store in refrigerator.


Apple Shrub Punch

Recipe by Courtney Matzke of Swig Well

2 lemons

2 oranges

6oz sugar

8oz Apple shrub

1 750ml bottle of aged rum

1 bottle of sparkling rose

1 persimmon thinly sliced


Peel the lemons and the oranges avoiding as much pith as possible. Combine with the sugar in a bowl and muddle the peels into the sugar. Let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour. Add the rum and apple shrub and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a punch bowl. Top with the sparkling rose. Slice persimmon very thin with a mandolin or sharp knife and float in the punch bowl.

Leslie Seaton serves on Slow Food Seattle’s board of directors.


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Introduction to Shrubs

City Fruit continues our holiday recipe blog series with a focus on shrubs! Our partner, Slow Food Seattle, shares our mission of preserving and protecting local foods. Make use of your apples this season with shrubs and share with your friends on Facebook

Apple Shrub

Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, might not seem immediately appealing to the unfamiliar, but these tart syrups consisting of fruit, vinegar and sugar have a lot to offer.

For one, they’re a creative way to add the tang of acid to a cocktail in place of the usual lemon or lime flavors. For another, mixed only with soda water, they’re a sophisticated, less-sweet non-alcoholic beverage option.

And of course, they serve a utilitarian, workhorse purpose that fits the syrup’s thrifty origins: the vinegar helps preserve and extend the life of the fruit used in the shrub. So they are great at capturing the flavors of seasonal produce.

Shrubs are part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, “a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.” On the tradition of fruit shrubs, the Ark of Taste entry describes:

Shrub is a colonial-day drink whose name is derived from the Arabic word sharab, to drink. It is a concentrated syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar that is traditionally mixed with water to create a refreshing drink that is simultaneously tart and sweet. In the nineteenth-century, the drink was often spiked brandy or rum.

Ubiquitous in colonial times, the use of shrubs as a flavoring for tonic and sodas subsided with increasing industrial production of foods. The entire shrub market was practically ceased until the Tait family in Pennsylvania revived the drink.

Considering the popularity of shrubs in the cocktail community in recent years, it seems we can consider the revival a success!

To help spread the word about the appeal of the shrub, Slow Food recently teamed up with Anu Apte and Courtney Matzke of Rob Roy and Swig Well for a class on how to make shrubs and use them in cocktails. We’re happy to share a couple recipes from the class that feature this season’s fruit superstar: the apple. First, the recipe to make the shrub itself, then a punch you can use it in for holiday entertaining. You’ll find these recipes posted on City Fruit’s site tomorrow!

If this is your first time making a shrub, know that the process is very forgiving and quite open to experimentation. A general good guideline is one part fruit to one part vinegar to one part sugar, but as you can see in the apple shrub recipe, sometimes you might reduce the amount of vinegar or sugar depending on how sweet/tart your produce is. Your taste buds will be your guide!

Leslie Seaton serves on Slow Food Seattle’s board of directors. Check out her post tomorrow with two apple shrub recipes to get you started!


A Summary of a Successful 2014


2014 was a record breaking year for City Fruit. In total we harvested over 27,948 pounds of fruit and donated 22,056 pounds to Seattle’s emergency food system. Thanks to 53 work parties and over 1,357 volunteer hours, 5,892 pounds came from 12 public orchards which City Fruit stewards. City Fruit also hosted 25 residential harvests; building a community of 80 volunteers around the stewardship and caring for both the fruit trees and our neighbors in Seattle. Along with our record breaking harvests and time committed to tree care, City Fruit developed a City Fruit Ambassador Program in which 13 members of our community trained to become year-round supporters of City Fruit in ways that align with their skills and passions. Through this training and lessons learned throughout 2014, we are building our capacity in hopes to make 2015 as successful of year this one turned out to be!

I’ll be celebrating our 2014 achievements through the end of the year on Twitter. Check out our City Fruit account here and my tweets signed with LJ.

Luke Jesperson is the harvest coordinator at City Fruit.


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Polenta and Pear Tart

Pears are still in season! Any pears can be used in this recipe.





7 large pears
200g sugar
1 lemon

For the pastry:
250g cold butter
310g flour
135g polenta
100g sugar
½tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2-3tbs water
Egg for glazing

Note: 100g=3.5 ounces

● Peel the pears, cut them in half and take out the cores and stalks. Poach gently in a sugar syrup (2 cups water, 200g of sugar and the juice of the lemon) until they are quite soft. Leave to cool, then dry on a paper towel to remove all liquid.
● In a mixer or bowl, combine the butter, flour, polenta, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and the water – just enough to bring the dough together.
● Roll out two-thirds of the dough into a large circle about 5mm thick. Lift carefully and place in a 25cm buttered tart tin with a removable base. Position the pears, cut side down, in the tart. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top. Seal the edges with a little beaten egg glaze.
● Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 35 mins or until golden brown. Make sure the base is well cooked too, as the pears tend to release moisture.

Hazel Singer is the Vice President of City Fruit’s Board of Directors


#GivingTuesday: Why I Harvest for City Fruit

GT3I support City Fruit wholeheartedly because they utilize food that would otherwise go to waste and share it with those who are less fortunate. City Fruit brings neighborhoods and communities together, emphasizing proper tree care, food justice, and civic engagement. Our supporters generously donate funds, volunteer hours, and even the fruit they grow on their own property.

For me, working with City Fruit is an opportunity to give back to the city that has given me so much and shaped the man I am today. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to harvest local fruit, donate it to the nearest food bank/youth program/senior center, and give a person in need the bounty of freshly-picked fruit. Many food banks can only offer processed food, so every bit of fresh produce we at City Fruit can give makes a difference not just in the amount of food a person has access to, but also the nutritional value of that food.

The majority of fruit we harvest comes from the yards of generous tree owners. To maximize our 2015 harvest, we need more of Seattle’s tree owners involved, both through fruit donations and monetary support. On this #GivingTuesday, I am calling on all fruit tree owners to donate what you can to the 2015 harvest, and, if you haven’t already, register your tree(s) for gleaning by e-mailing [email protected]!

Thank you for supporting our organization. I hope to see you out there in the trees!

Dusty Towler is City Fruit’s West Seattle harvester.  He just completed his third season with the organization.


#GivingTuesday: Why I Founded City Fruit

GTUntil May 2014 I was the founding director of City Fruit. But that is not the reason City Fruit is at the top of my list when it comes time to donate. This is why:

A few years ago I spoke about City Fruit to a group of English-as-a Second-Language students, all of them immigrants. None of them understood why City Fruit existed. No one came from a place—not Europe, not Asia, not South America or Africa—where fruit growing in the neighborhood was allowed to fall and rot. “How could this happen?” they asked.

I didn’t know what to say. It was embarrassing. While a society with hungry people has a problem, a society that lets food go to waste in the face of that hunger has an even bigger problem. City Fruit works on many fronts to address this conundrum. It picks unused fruit and donates it to people who are hungry–28,000 pounds in 2014 alone. It teaches people about the value of their fruit and how to care for their trees. It reminds policymakers that urban fruit – and fruit trees – are a community resource. And it cares for fruit trees in our public spaces.

My donation to City Fruit pays dividends that I can see, feel, taste and smell: boxes and boxes of fresh produce delivered to food banks, shelters, daycares and senior centers. Clean sidewalks. Healthy trees. Civic pride. Please join me in making a clear difference in a simple way: Become a member of City Fruit by donating $50 (or more!) today.

Gail Savina is the founder of City Fruit and currently serves as a senior advisor to the organization. 


Fruit-Filled Recipe: Vegan Apple Pie

IMG_0119My fiancé, Andrew, has been making this pie for years.  On our first date, we wandered a farmer’s market, where he picked out some green apples.  On our second date, he made a version of this pie recipe for me.  It has become my favorite apple pie recipe – its quick and tasty, and has never failed. The sour cream gives the filling a unique creaminess. Below, we’ve modified the recipe to make it vegan by replacing the egg with pear purée and the sour cream with Tofutti. We used a combination of Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Newton Pippin apples for this year’s pie (pictured here).  It is delicious!


  • 1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 pears, cored and cubed, then puréed
  • 3 cups peeled, sliced tart apples (about 1 1/4 pounds of slices)
  • 9″ unbaked pie shell, frozen OR your favorite pie crust recipe (here is mine)



  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the pears in a blender or food processor to puree.  If the pears are not yet ripe, you can steam and soften the fruit in a small sauce pan or crock pot. You need about a fourth cup of purée for the next step. (The leftovers can be used to make pear butter).
  3. Beat together sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and pear puree (can beat by hand). Add apples, mixing carefully to coat well.
  4. Put filling into a pie shell and bake at 400 degrees initially for 25 min.
  5. Mix together all topping ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Cinnamon Crumb Topping. Bake for and additional 20 more minutes.

Let cool for a hour before serving. Serves 8. This recipe is inspired by Simply Recipes’ Sour Cream Apple Pie.

Kate is the executive director of City Fruit.  


Giving Fruit to Youth in our Communities

High Point HEalthy Families Celebration

These past couple of weeks have been very exciting for me as I’ve been able to expose City Fruit to two neighborhood Back to School events and provide fruit to them as well! A large part of why I do the work I do is because I care deeply about culturally appropriate, healthy food access for all people regardless of where they live, what they do, or how much money they make. As a person who grew up in a working class family and who had to trek nearly thirty minutes to a single farmers market outside of my community, I’ve made it a part of my life’s goal to increase accessibility of affordable (or in City Fruit’s case, free!) fresh food.

The first event — High Point Healthy Families Celebration —  was held at Neighborhood House in West Seattle, one of the first neighborhoods in Seattle where City Fruit still harvests and donates fruit. The community event was hustling and bustling with other awesome organizations who have a presence in West Seattle. Besides for awesome City Fruit gear giveaways, we were able to donate many crates of Italian plums to complement their free dinner!

Van Asselt Elementary School was the next Back to School festival we were able to partner with this year. We’re lucky enough to work in the same neighborhood of the school (Beacon Hill), so providing fresh fruit for them just made sense! Over 400 people attended the event and they were able to enjoy some tasty varieties of pears and plums. They also got some sweet bookmarks to start their school year off right! Our harvest coordinator Luke dropped off the bounty and was swarmed by a group of third graders who asked asked him how much money all of the fruit cost to buy in which he was able to explain City Fruit’s model. His response was shocking to the kids: “It was free! Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of folks in our community, MANY more people can enjoy fresh fruit!”

Support City Fruit today by getting involved as a volunteer harvester to get more fruit to families in need. You can also join us by taking care of the fruit trees in one of the public parks we steward to ensure pest free apples, plums, and pears!

Melanie is the Community Outreach Coordinator for City Fruit.


Meet our Harvest Team!

Meet photo-2City Fruit’s 2014 Harvest Team! From left, Dusty Towler, who will be focusing on the West Seattle; Luke Jesperson, our Harvest Coordinator, who is working in the neighborhoods of South Seattle, including Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Mount Baker, and Rainier Beach; and Hamilton Anderson, who will harvest in North Seattle, including the neighborhoods of Ballard, Phinney/Greenwood, and Wallingford.

The harvesters will be out in their areas each weekday starting around 8:30am and collecting fruit until the early afternoon.  From there, the fresh and nutritious fruit will be delivered to food banks and meal programs in the same neighborhood.

If you haven’t had a chance to sign up for our annual harvest, fill out our quick tree survey here.


The cherries are coming!

photo (1)In my opening New to Fruit Trees blog, I said I was disappointed not to find a single fruit tree in my yard after moving to Seattle from Washington, DC. Not so fast. Let’s call this my second #fruitfail.  Not one, or two, but five — I have five cherry trees in my yard.  Seattle is truly an urban orchard. (To be fair, at the time, no cherries were growing!)

For help identifying our trees, I was able to call on one of City Fruit’s many experts. Laila Suidan, a trained arborist, taught me about each type of tree (and plant) in our yard and provided instruction on care and maintenance. Among other things, she taught me that many fruit trees, including cherry trees, have identifying lenticels on their bark.

City Fruit will soon launch a set of residential services, including connection to experts that can help identify and assess your fruit trees and assist in tree care and management. If you’re interested, please email [email protected] and we’ll send you more information. 

I’m looking forward to our first harvest of cherries this week! If you aren’t lucky enough to have cherry trees in your backyard, make sure to sign up for Collins Orchards CSA. Deliveries started June 25th, but you can sign-up at anytime.  The first few weeks of the CSA will include Early Robin Rainier cherries.


City Fruit members receive a 10% discount on the CSA! Join City Fruit Today — members may request the discount code by email.


Catherine Morrison is the executive director of City Fruit.  Follow her blog series and send your New to Fruit Tree questions to [email protected]




Recipe: Crab Apple Pie

Do you have a crab apple tree that is bursting with fruit but you don’t know what to do with it? There aren’t that many crab apple recipes out there but this one, submitted to us by Tom Douglas Pastry Chef Stacy Fortner, sounds so delicious it makes me sad this unique fruit so often goes to waste.

crab apple pieIngredients (1 batch yield in 9″ pie)

Crab Apples 6 Cups

Sugar 7.5 oz

Flour 3 tsp

Salt 3 tiny pinches

Vanilla 1.5 tsp

Lemon Juice 1.5 tsp

Water 3 oz.

Butter, cold cubes 6 tsp


Crab apples should be cut ahead of time.

We cut the sides away from the pit like an olive.

Toss crab apples with dry ingredients.

Fill pie and pour liquid over.

Sprinkle with cold cubed butter.

Bake at 375 for the first 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake until the juices begin to bubble and crust is gold brown.


Recipe: Strawberry Pie Filling

Photo by Fried Dough on Flickr

Did you know that May is National Strawberry Month? To celebrate we’re posting Betsy Moyer’s delicious recipe for strawberry pie filling.


2  cups  ripe strawberries

1/2  cup  water

2/3  cup  sugar

2  tablespoons  cornstarch

1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice

6  cups  small ripe strawberries

1  cup  whipped cream



To prepare filling, mash 2 cups strawberries with a potato masher. Combine mashed strawberries and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the strawberry mixture through a sieve into a bowl, and reserve 1 cup strawberry liquid (add enough water to measure 1 cup, if necessary). Compost pulp or use it for ice cream topping!

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a pan; add strawberry liquid, stirring well with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.

Arrange a layer of small strawberries, stem sides down, in the crust. Spoon about one-third of sauce over the strawberries. Arrange the remaining strawberries on top, and spoon the remaining sauce over the strawberries. Chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.


Mirabelle Tart, English Style

I found this great recipe by Rowley Leigh in the Financial Times of London for this Mirabelle Tart. Not only is it beautiful and delicious, but it will test your metric ability in the kitchen!










Mirabelle Tart
The pastry
100g unsalted butter
100g light brown caster sugar
1 egg
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
• Cream the butter and sugar with the beater of a food mixer or in a bowl with a wooden spoon. When they are perfectly smooth, add the beaten egg and incorporate it into the mass to form a wet paste. Sieve the flour and salt and add to the mixture, folding it in very gently without over working the dough. Collect together and roll into a thick log about 12cm in diameter. Refrigerate.

Pastry cream
1 vanilla pod
500ml milk
6 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
75g flour
• Split the vanilla pod and put it in a saucepan with the milk and bring gently to the boil. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar very well until they are pale and increase a little in volume. Add the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Pour the boiling milk on to this mixture, whisk it well and return to the heat. Bring this gently back to the boil, stirring constantly and making sure none is catching on the sides or corners of the pan. Turn down the heat and continue stirring for 3-4 minutes. You should now have a thick, rich and lump- free custard. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with icing sugar and then cover the surface with cling film (unless you have that strange but not unusual predilection for custard skin) and cool.
The tart
750g Mirabelles
1 tbs icing sugar
• Soften the pastry by hitting it vigorously with a rolling pin. Roll it out in a circle to a thickness of 3mm and, rolling it around the pin, lift it off the table and drop it into a tart ring 26cm in diameter. Make sure that there is no gap in the corners and that there is a 1cm overhang at the edge. Crimp the border gently over the rim of the ring, slide the tart case on to a metal baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C. Dock the base of the tart shell with a fork and cook it in the oven for 15 minutes. While still soft, take a sharp knife and run it around the top edge of the tart and remove the overhanging pastry. Let the case cool down.
• Fill the cool tart case with the pastry cream. Lay the Mirabelles in tightly fitting concentric circles on top. Wrap a twist of foil in a ring to protect the exposed pastry, dust the Mirabelles with the icing sugar and return the tart to the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.