Last year we brought in 10,017 pounds of unused fruit from residential properties in south Seattle/Beacon Hill, West Seattle and the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhoods. We donated most of it to food banks and meals programs and sold a portion of it to restaurants and others.
- Apples – 3,245 lbs
- Plums – 2,612 lbs
- Asian pears – 2,303 lbs
- Euro Pears – 505 lbs
- Grapes – 528 lbs
- Crabapples – 419 lbs
- Figs – 400 lbs
We held 155 harvest events despite the fact that fruit production in Seattle was very low in 2013. There were few Italian plums (our most important crop), and some orchards had no apples at all.
City Fruit is somewhat unique in that we pay harvesters a living wage to harvest fruit (instead of relying on volunteers). Our total costs (administration + harvest labor) came to just under $1.00/lb of fruit harvested. While we continually work to bring down this number, the fact remains that it’s expensive to harvest urban fruit: trees don’t grow in convenient rows, like they do in orchards, and many are neglected and overgrown.
We continue to sell fruit in order to create a sustainable harvest model. This year we generated enough revenue to underwrite a third of our harvest costs by selling 15% of our fruit. Much of this — e.g., figs and crabapples — is not appropriate for donation. Our customers include some of the best restaurants in Seattle in addition to individuals, day care centers and Seattle Tilth’s Good Food Bags and CSA.