Posts Tagged ‘City Fruit’

Jun25

Harvest is here!

IMG_0887

The first piece of fruit picked in 2015!

After a 239 day hiatus, the harvest has officially begun! Our first harvest this year came 12 days earlier than our first harvest last year and resulted in 30 pounds of delicious Bing Cherries donated to the El Centro Food Bank (I do have to admit, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a few as well.) Since that first donation on June 15th, we have harvested more cherries, transparent apples, and even some red plums! The warm weather didn’t give us much time to ease into harvest season which is ok by me as I’ve been antsy to get back out and celebrate the diverse and bountiful urban orchard we have in Seattle from the vantage point of my orchard ladder.

If you have not yet authorized your tree for the 2015 City Fruit harvest, please do so early so we can properly plan and prepare. Feel free to email me to opt-in or with any questions at [email protected]

Happy Summer!

Luke

 

 

 

Jun19

Happy National Pollinator Week!

During National Pollinator Week, we wanted to reflect on and celebrate the insects that make City Fruit’s annual harvest possible!

OCopy of Honey 1 horizne out of every three bites we eat (including fruit from fruit trees) is courtesy of a pollinator, i.e. bees, wasps, moths, flies, and bats. While there are many different pollinators that contribute to pollination, honey bees are crucial to the pollination of our fruits and vegetables, and are regarded as one of the most critical links in the United States agricultural system.

In the past 10 years, honey bees in particular have been threatened. First reported in 2006, “Colony Collapse Disorder”, referring to the large scale loss of honey bee colonies, has raised alarm about threats to honey bee health and the potential for their widespread disappearance – from 2006-2011, United States beekeepers experienced an average total loss of 33% every year.

Although these numbers are significant, there is reason to celebrate as both local and national policies are starting to take action to protect pollinators this spring. Last month on May 18th, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to become the 8th certified Bee City USA in the nation! By becoming a Bee City, Seattle will now adopt a set of standards to create sustainable pollinator habitats. A day later on May 19th, the White House released the historic National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, outlining a set of goals to curb the loss of honey bees and other important pollinator species like monarch butterflies, as well as restore pollinator habitats.

These policies mark important milestones in protecting pollinators and the food we cultivate along with them. City Fruit couldn’t harvest urban fruit and share the bounty with neighbors and friends without the work of pollinators – as we turn towards harvest season, this Pollinator Week we celebrate the entirety of the growing process – from seed to flower to fruit to table.

 

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.

 

Jun12

Linden Orchard is Ready for Summer

FullSizeRender 4The trees are looking good at Linden Orchard. Five out of six trees have apples! Only one tree that produced last year did not develop blooms or apples this year. Let us know if you’re seeing the same thing in your yard.

Thanks to support from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, City Fruit is investigating a variety of methods for organically preventing pests during the spring months.

At Linden Orchard, we are using codling moth traps as well as white bags to cover the apples. We’ve also left some apples uncovered. We’ll keep watching the fruit through the season, and make sure to share photos after we remove the bags later this year.

Send us photos of your covered fruit to [email protected] In the fall, we will host two community sessions to share information and best practices about what we learned this year in working to prevent pests. Dates and locations are coming soon!

Kate is executive director of City Fruit. She lives in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. 

May26

Cultivars in Seattle Public Orchards

redastrachan

the Red Astrachan apple, found in Piper’s Orchard

Visit Seattle’s public orchards to discover apples that were commonly grown in the 1900s, 1800s, or even earlier. The word “cultivar” refers to a specific plant variety. Below is a list of 52 apple cultivars  that can be found in orchards stewarded by City Fruit. Most of the varieties listed below are heritage apples, no longer grown commercially. Stay tuned for future blogs that feature one or more of these historic varieties!

 

 

 

Cultivar Orchard
Alexander Piper’s Orchard
Belmac Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Belmont Piper’s Orchard
Ben Davis Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Beni Shogun Fuji Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Bietigheimer Piper’s Orchard
Blue Pearmain Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Bramley’s Seedling Good Shepherd Center
Dolgo crabapple Piper’s Orchard
Duchess of Oldenburg Meridian Playground, Piper’s Orchard
Dutch Mignonne Piper’s Orchard
Early Fuji Freeway Estates Community Orchard
Early Harvest Piper’s Orchard
Empire Good Shepherd Center
Esopus Spitzenburg Piper’s Orchard
Golden Delicious Amy Yee Tennis Center, Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Meridian
Golden Russet Piper’s Orchard
Gravenstein Freeway Estates Community Orchard, Good Shepherd Center, Martha Washington Park, Meridian Playground, Piper’s Orchard
Hawkeye Delicious Piper’s Orchard
Honeycrisp Freeway Estates Community Orchard
Hudson’s Golden Gem Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Meadowbrook Playfield
Jonagold Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Good Shepherd Center
Jonamac Good Shepherd Center
Kidd’s Orange Good Shepherd Center
King George V Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Liberty Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Freeway Estates Community Orchard, Good Shepherd Center, Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Lubsk Queen Piper’s Orchard
Macoun Good Shepherd Center
McIntosh Meridian Playground
Melrose Good Shepherd Center
Northern Spy Freeway Estates Community Orchard, Martha Washington Park, Meridian Playground, Piper’s Orchard
Pristine Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford)
Red Astrachan Piper’s Orchard
Red Delicious Meridian Playground
Red Gravenstein Meridian Playground
Rhode Island Greening Meridian Playground, Piper’s Orchard
Roxbury Russet Piper’s Orchard
Spartan Amy Yee Tennis Center, Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Good Shepherd Center, Martha Washington Park, Meadowbrook Playfield
Swaar Piper’s Orchard
Tolman Sweet Piper’s Orchard
Tompkins King Amy Yee Tennis Center, Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Good Shepherd Center, Martha Washington Park, Piper’s Orchard
Twenty Ounce Good Shepherd Center
Tydeman’s Red Good Shepherd Center
Wagener Piper’s Orchard
Wealthy Piper’s Orchard
William’s Pride Freeway Estates Community Orchard, Martha Washington Park
Winesap Dr. Jose Rizal Park
Winter Banana Meridian Playground
Wolf River Piper’s Orchard
Yellow Bellflower Amy Yee Tennis Center, Burke-Gilman Trail (Wallingford), Piper’s Orchard
Yellow Newtown Pippin Piper’s Orchard
Yellow Transparent Piper’s Orchard

 

 

We’d love to get you engaged in the City Fruit family! Check out upcoming events, become anambassador 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.

May04

Teens for Trees

IMG_0963

A student shares her ideas with the group!

On a sunny day in Wallingford, Meridian Park is buzzing with frisbees, dogs, and people enjoying the gardens and open spaces. It’s easy to miss that many of the trees supplying the shade are edible fruit trees! On Wednesdays, a group of students from the Boys and Girls Club of Wallingford wander over to learn about what it means to be a steward and how to preserve and protect the trees in their neighborhood. A community grant has made it possible for City Fruit to teach our first youth program focused on tree stewardship – our goal is to inspire hands-on learning that will enable students to become the empowered environmental decision makers of tomorrow. This small group of motivated students has started to learn about the importance of the urban canopy and the role trees play in the local ecosystem. On Earth Day, they made observations and held an open discussion about the ways trees influence our climate and protect our planet. As a group, the students identified the many tree-based products in our daily lives and how native peoples have used raw tree products for food, medicine, tools, clothing and more! Students are developing their stewardship, leadership and advocacy skills to bring back to their community and local trees. Various other local student groups have also volunteered with City Fruit to plant trees, clear weeds, and help assess the impact of fruit trees on public lands in Seattle.

Climate change has increased the urgency for environmental action on a global scale. It is increasingly important for the human species to preserve the shrinking global forests in order to continue to survive. Our youth are the conservation leaders of the future. Studies have shown, environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue careers in environmental and natural resources.

This class was made possible by the Alliance for Community Trees and CSX.

 

We’d love to get you engaged in the City Fruit family! Check out upcoming events, become anambassador 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.

Apr10

City Fruit Launches Save Seattle’s Apples Campaign!

 

SSA 2015 logo_blackSpring is springing, and along with the warmer weather and new buds on the trees, we are excited to announce the launch of our first ever Spring 2015 Save Seattle’s Apples Campaign! In partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Recology, Greater Good Granola, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, this three month pest prevention campaign will build awareness about Seattle’s urban canopy, the proper care and management of apple trees, and provide opportunities for the public to protect apples. Additionally, the project aims to reduce waste that unnecessarily ends up in the compost bin.

Apple maggot David Smith

The work of an apple maggot. Pest damage makes fruit inedible and unsuitable for donation to food banks and other organizations.

During 2014, City Fruit harvested nearly 28,000 pounds of fresh, edible fruit and donated the majority to Seattle’s emergency food system. During the same harvest season, we composted over 12,000 pounds of rotten fruit that had fallen to the ground due to insects, poor tree management, or neglect. Through education, outreach, and direct hands-on assistance to tree owners in protecting their fruit, we hope to cut the number of pounds of fruit we compost in half in 2015, adding 6,000 pounds of fruit to the emergency food system and feeding an additional estimated 20,000 families.

“Apple trees are a vibrant part of Seattle’s history, and a valuable resource. Coming together as an entire community in the care of our apple trees could have an enormous impact on our local food system and really make a difference in the lives of the food insecure in our community”, said Morgan Larsen, City Fruit’s board president.

Bagging at Amy Yee May 31 -2

Volunteers cover apples with pest barriers at Amy Yee Orchard

“Food waste makes up one third of Seattle’s residential garbage”, said Veronica Fincher, Waste Prevention Program Manager at Seattle Public Utilities. “We’re excited to be part of a project that helps prevent food from becoming waste–especially since food is no longer allowed in the garbage”.

From April through June, City Fruit will provide free pest barriers to Seattle tree owners, and will host a series of outreach events in five Seattle neighborhoods focused on covering trees to prevent pests in orchards as well as on private property.

Help us cut the number of pounds of fruit we compost by half in 2015. Join us to save Seattle’s Apples!

The Save Seattle’s Apples Kick-Off event will take place on Sunday, April 19th at Linden Orchard (N 67th St.) from 12 – 3 PM, and will feature opportunities for community members to participate in covering apple trees, win prizes, and pledge to reduce waste!

Join us for a Bag ‘n’ Brew event at Schilling Cider House in Fremont to pick up your pest barriers, sample local cider, and enter to win raffle prizes!

Volunteer at one of our pest prevention events, protect your tree and pick up your free pest barriers, or become an Apple Champion and run the Rock ‘n’ Roll race with us!

Jan26

Grateful for a day of service and a ton of hard work!

IMG_0356

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

It was one week ago today that we hosted a large event for Martin Luther King Jr Day. We are so excited to share the success of our MLK day of service–it was one of our most successful volunteer work parties yet! As our City Fruit team planned the special work project for MLK Day this year, we kept in mind our main goal of expanding the amount of work that we can do, caring for as many fruit trees as we can, and ultimately bringing the fruit back to our community during the harvest season.

We were buzzing with excitement at the opportunity to host two active community groups, the UW Husky Leadership Initiative and Projectline Inc. Each of these groups has created positive change within their organization and their enthusiasm was easy to recognize!

As volunteers came rolling into the orchard, we divided into groups, grabbed some tools, and conquered a couple of big projects. The Amy Yee Tennis Center Orchard has over 30 fruit trees with significant history to the South Seattle area. With over 75 volunteers with a combined 269 volunteer hours logged, our groups enthusiastically got to work clearing thorny blackberries, scotch broom, and other invasive weeds out from the base of the fruit trees. We were especially impressed with the efforts of our young stewards of the day who picked up fallen apples and planted young fruit trees in the newly cleared space!

The Amy Yee Tennis Center is now looking better than ever and we are excited for the prospects of this orchard for the 2015 harvest season. Thank you to everyone who came out and helped make this event a success for City Fruit. This was truly an inspiring group of volunteers and we are excited for the continued success of our future work parties!

 

 

Jan15

Reflections on Equal Rights in Our Time

As we head into Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend, I have been thinking about the man and, more broadly, the movement this holiday seeks to recognize. Whenever I think about the Civil Rights Movement, I find myself oscillating between the macro, “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” perspective that encapsulates the struggles humanity faces as a whole, and the stories that helped define the movement and highlight injustices.

One of the stories that comes to mind pertains to the four African American college students in North Carolina known as the “Greensboro Four.”  One day in early 1960, these students decided to walk down to a local diner and perform the simple act of ordering a cup of coffee. They waited all day without ever receiving service. Long story short, over the course of the next few weeks and months, this simple act inspired sit-ins across North Carolina and several other southern states, solidifying these actions as highly effective forms of peaceful protest across much of the south that culminated in desegregation.

Almost sixty years after the sit-in by the Greensboro Four, it’s important to reflect on what it means to have equal rights in today’s society. At City Fruit, we believe everyone should have ready access to fresh, nutritious food. In the State of Washington, almost 15 percent of households report being “food insecure,” and 1 in 6 people rely on SNAP. While the barriers today may be different, those who lack the means to access the food they need still suffer needlessly.

Over the course of this weekend, I will think about what Dr. King’s words and deeds mean to me personally. I will reflect about what it means to be a good citizen, and how I should show support and solidarity with fellow human beings struggling in ways I can hardly begin to fathom. It’s easy to get too muddled in the abstract and forget that small, simple acts of kindness are what really make profound changes. By picking apples from a tree, I can ensure that hundreds of kids and families can count on a healthy snack each week. I’m thankful that my job at City Fruit allows me to spend time trying to do good for my fellow community members in Seattle, and to all of City Fruit’s supporters who make our work possible.

There is still much to be done to address inequalities in our society. As I think about my roles and responsibilities not just at City Fruit, but in life, I will remember the words of the man whose life we honor during this time every year. I think you’ll agree Dr. King’s words resonate now as much as they did 40 years ago:

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels inevitably. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle: the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Without persistent effort, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive forces of irrational emotionalism and social destruction. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

Luke Jesperson is City Fruit’s Harvest and Community Outreach Manager.

 

Jan15

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2015 here at City Fruit, we’d like to share a few of our New Year’s resolutions. You won’t find any related to getting more exercise or reading more non-fiction literature (though those are perfectly adequate resolutions). We fruitheads are all about the produce!

Without further ado…

“I resolve to remember my public health roots and invest energy in the larger system and policy changes necessary to ensure access to healthy food for all.”  Kate Morrison

“I resolve to pick my plums before the neighbor gets them, and to make a boysenberry pie from my plants instead of just snacking on them.” — Hazel Singer, CF board member

“I resolve to learn more about the varieties and histories of the fruit that grows in Seattle. Oh, and learn to do the juggling trick where you take a bit out of apples while you juggle them.” — Luke Jesperson

“I resolve to do ten successful fruit tree grafts this year. When eating a fresh apple, I resolve to eat everything but the stem, just as I have since I was a kid. I resolve to try two new pie crust recipes and venture beyond my Betty Crocker basic recipe.” — Barb Burrill

“I resolve to open bananas from the bottom (the right way, supposedly) and to eat kiwis with the skin on.” — Natalie Place

“I resolve to perfect the art of blackberry pie making and to learn how to make lemon meringue pie using the lemons from my family’s Meyer lemon tree!” — Elan Ebeling

“I resolve to personally harvest all of the fruit from the neglected Asian pear tree at the end of my street. No perfectly good fruit will go to waste!” — Brian Mickelson

We hope to accomplish a lot this year, and with your help, we can!

Dec22

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

 

PUMPKIN-GINGER CRUMB CAKE

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

Ingredients

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

Dec10

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!

Dec02

#GivingTuesday: Why We Partner with City Fruit

GTWe love City Fruit! We each seek to give back to the Seattle community by making our members better gardeners and stewards of their edibles. Each year, City People’s Garden Store and City Fruit cohost the “Second Sunday & Some Saturdays Series” of workshops, which we offer free to the public. City Fruit finds instructors passionate about fruit trees and gardening in general, and the Garden Store hosts. The workshops range from Growing Figs to Protecting Pollinators, and this year we had our first Cider Making Event, which we hope to make an annual occurrence!

Each winter, as we receive our first bare root fruit in early February, City Fruit helps us brush off the frost and start the gardening season with enthusiasm, offering information on how to successfully grow bare root fruit and directing potential gardeners to our store. In return, we give a portion of our sales of winter fruit trees and bare root shrubs to City Fruit. Always a willing partner, the folks at City Fruit are wonderful to work with, and we admire all that they do. Please consider a donation to City Fruit today in the spirit of #GivingTuesday!

And be sure to check out the 2015 lineup of workshops (exact dates to be determined).

Kyra Butzel is with City People’s Garden Store in Seattle.

Dec02

#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.

Dec02

#GivingTuesday: Why City Fruit Inspires My Work

FB IconI first noticed apple blossoms peeking out from blackberry vines along the Burke-Gilman Trail in 2008. I’ve been rehabilitating public fruit trees ever since. I started volunteering with City Fruit around that time, and about a year ago became the organization’s orchard steward coordinator. Now I support volunteer stewards and their fruit tree care efforts in public orchards all over the city.

Our tree care regimen is strictly organic, without sprays or chemical fertilizers. The care takes just a few hours per tree each season, but we need many helping hands. City Fruit staff members are trained to harness the energy of hundreds of volunteers, coordinate care with Seattle Parks gardeners, and harvest and deliver fruit into Seattle’s emergency food system.

In 2014, our stewarded orchards yielded 6,000 pounds of fresh, organic fruit suitable for donation. We hope to grow, harvest, and donate even more orchard fruit in 2015, but we need your help! We work in the orchards year-round and welcome as many volunteers as we can handle. Come on your own or with a group from work, school, or the neighborhood. Check the City Fruit calendar for 2015 work parties or email [email protected] to schedule a custom work party. And please, on this #GivingTuesday, donate what you can to help City Fruit continue to grow!

Barb Burrill is City Fruit’s orchard stewards coordinator.

Dec02

#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. 

Nov23

Out in the Orchard: A Good Time to Plant a Tree

It’s November. You’ve harvested the fruit from your trees, BGT March 22 work party 2cleaned up fallen fruit, raked up diseased leaves, and spread mulch up to the dripline. What to do now? Plant a tree!

November is the best month to plant trees in our climate. Plant a tree in the spring, and unless you are really disciplined about watering, the dry summer months will stress your tree when it is trying to get established. Plant in November, and the rains take care of watering duties. Plus with our mild fall and winter, roots of the trees can even continue growing once they are planted, whenever the soil temperature is above 50 degrees.

A problem with this plan, though, is that most nurseries are not selling fruit trees in November.

City Fruit has a few fruit trees and edible perennials that are ready to plant now. Sign up using the online form. A small donation per plant is requested.

Some small local nurseries such asCal watering quince Burnt Ridge Nursery in Onalaska and Hartman’s Nursery in Puyallup may have fruit trees you can buy for planting now. Burnt Ridge sells trees at The Farmers Market of Olympia, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 3 through December. Contact small nurseries to confirm their fruit tree inventory before you take a road trip.

To get the most fruit production from your trees, buy two or more trees that can pollinize each other.

Location is crucial. The more sun the better – full sun is best. Leave enough room for the tree so it can grow to its ultimate mature size. You don’t want to be moving that tree again in a few years.

Once you are ready to get your trees in the ground, refer to City Fruit’s on-line resource document on How to Plant a Fruit Tree.

Good luck! Send us a photo of your new trees at [email protected]

Barb Burrill is City Fruit’s orchard steward coordinator. 

Nov20

Getting Started with Mason Bees

mason-bee-house-1In just two hours of your time each year, you can significantly increase the amount of fruit your trees produce. And you’ll have fun doing it. Just add gentle-natured mason bees for amazing pollination. This native bee out-pollinates her honey bee cousin by about 100:1, due to her messy pollen gathering techniques. She is a friendly garden companion that doesn’t mind people observing her activities. While there no honey produced, you’ll get healthy spring fruit and nut yields.

Mason bees are alive in spring when your fruit trees are in bloom. After the females have gathered pollen and laid their eggs for 4-6 weeks, they expire early June. While they’re alive, they use holes in your yard to nest and lay cocoons. These are your bees for next season!

In fall you “harvest” the cocoons from the holes where they nested earlier. The bee larva have grown into bees encased in cocoons and will safely overwinter in your refrigerator. This allows you to be in control of when you want to pollinate your yard. Do you need your cherry tree pollinated? Pull some bees out of hibernation in late March. Pollinate your apple tree? You’re removing them in April. It’s easy!

For the holidays, Crown Bees is offering a ten percent discount on Bee Starter Kits to City Fruit members! Email [email protected] for the discount code.

This guest post is made possible by Crown Bees, a local business dedicated to keeping food on the table and in our stores with mason bee pollination. Bees pollinate 1/3 of our food supply, which relies primarily on the troubled honey bee. The company promotes raising mason bees and educating backyard gardeners and farmers nationwide about this gentle-natured, efficient pollinator. It’s an easy way we can all help protect our food supply, one garden at a time.

 

Nov07

Oh What a Night

When thinking about last night I just keep humming the brief refrain “Oh what a night”. The rest of the Four Season’s song doesn’t really apply but, ciderglassoh what a night. 250 (Two. Hundred. Fifty) City Fruit members, supporters, and cider fans came out to the Palace Ballroom in Downtown Seattle for City Fruit’s 4th Annual Cider Taste.

Mind. Blown.

While there folks sampled some amazing ciders from Schilling Cider, Seattle Cider Company, Dragon’s Head Cider, Finnriver, Nashi Orchards, Whitewood Cider, Alpenfire Cider, Snowdrift Cider Company, and Tieton Cider Works and snacked on small bites courtesy of Tom Douglas Restaurants. Everyone who attended also received a small souvenir glass courtesy of Capitol Cider.

shroom1In addition to the cider tastes, attendees were able to shop our marketplace and buy products from local companies, such as Glassybaby and Ballard Bee Company, and meet the authors of the books “Shroom“, “Good Fish“, and “Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard“.

Seeing the Palace Ballroom packed with people was the perfect way to celebrate the end of our record breaking 2014 harvest and kick off our fundraising and planning for 2015. This year we expanded to two new neighborhoods (Ballard and Wallingford) and harvested an incredible 25,000+ pounds of fruit (that’s almost 13 tons or more than the weight of two Asian elephants) that went to social organizations who helped put that fruit into the hands of those in need.

To say last night was our most cider2asuccessful Cider Taste to date would be an understatement. Not just in terms of attendance (did I mention 250 people were there?) and the number of cideries but also in the amount of money we were able to raise. Thanks to the generosity of those in attendance and sponsors like GLY Construction we raised $17,500, which goes a long way towards helping fund our 2015 harvest.

Last night was just AWESOME. It really inspired all of us to keep moving forward with the work we’re doing and we’re already starting to think about next year’s event (yes, we heard you, we’ll have more food). Everything we do, whether it’s this event or our harvest or our classes or any of our other programs, is possible because of your support so THANK YOU for cider1bcoming out and showing us you believe in what we’re doing. I know it can be a little bit of a cliché but it’s very true when I say we wouldn’t be here without all of you.

If you weren’t able to join us at the Cider Taste last night and would like to show your support for the 2015 harvest, you can make a donation here. Every dollar helps in fulfilling our mission to harvest the unused fruit growing in Seattle and to use it to help feed those who would otherwise not have access to high quality, fresh fruit.

Thank you again for your support of City Fruit, not just last night but over these many months and years. Here’s to 2015 being an even bigger year. Let’s harvest another elephant!

Whether or not you could attend you can relive (or experience) the evening via pictures and posts on social media.

Support City Fruit’s 2015 harvest with an online gift at http://www.cityfruit.org/join.

Larry Liang is president of City Fruit’s board of directors. 

Oct31

Capitol Cider

To this point, we’ve written all about the wonderful craft cideries pouring next week at City Fruit’s 4th Annual Hard Cider Taste fundraiser. Hailing from all over Washington State—the Olympic Peninsula, Yakima, Wenatchee, Olympia, even here in Seattle—these cideries are among the best of the best in the Pacific Northwest. We recommend taking a trip to each and every one the first chance you get.

You might be thinking, “But I’m just a novice cider drinker and my time is limited, isn’t there a place in Seattle I can go to try all these ciders?” That would be something, wouldn’t it? A place that regularly features every cidery coming to the Hard Cider Taste, and maybe some other regional artisanal, Spanish, English, and French blends? And why limit it to cider? How about cider cocktails and cider mimosas and an extensive collection of Calvados and other apple-based liqueurs? Or a delicious gluten-free brunch, dinner, and late-night menu with dishes that pair perfectly with all types of cider? Maybe toss in some live music for good measure?

Today is your lucky day, dear reader, for such a place exists. Welcome to Capitol Cider, your one-stop shop for literally everything having to do with cider. With a full bar featuring 20 rotating taps of specialty ciders from all over the world and an extensive bottle shop with over 120 different kinds of cider, Capitol Cider boasts the largest craft cider collection in the city.

In every sense, Capitol Cider is a public house, a place to meet and exchange ideas and learn everything you’d ever want to know about cider. And if you own a cidery and want to expand in Seattle, Capitol is the place to go. “We just hosted Portland Cider Company’s Seattle launch,” says Caitlin Braam, who handles marketing for Capitol. “We host a lot of meet the maker events. Other folks seek us out when they’re coming to market.”

Many of the events Capitol organizes are built not just around cider, but food, too. “The chef is amazing,” Braam says. “He hosts dinners that pair gluten-free fare with all sorts of different ciders.” Indeed, Chef Erik Jackson has some serious chops, having worked at Tom Douglas’s, Serious Pie, Dahlia Lounge, Cuoco, Spur Gastropub, and The Coterie Room, to name a few. He is currently developing a series, “Apples Get Paired,” set to launch in March that will feature bi-monthly collaborations with up-and-coming Seattle chefs to create multi-course, cider-paired meals. Cider makers will be on hand to talk with the chefs about each pairing. It’s the perfect concept for Capitol, bringing the food and cider worlds together in what promises to be an exceptionally delicious series.

It’s only natural that Capitol Cider is sponsoring City Fruit’s Hard Cider Taste. They take their position of cider stewards as seriously as City Fruit takes the stewardship of Seattle’s shared urban orchard and delivering her generous bounty to our friends in need. We cannot thank Capitol enough for their support, and look forward to an amazing night next week on November 6th.

Capitol Cider logo

Oct30

Seattle Cider Co.

At a little over a year old, Seattle Cider Co is just a babe compared to some of the more established Washington craft cideries. But despite being the newcomer, it’s the first cidery to open in the City of Seattle since Prohibition, which thankfully ended long ago.

Joel Vandenbrink got the idea for starting Seattle Cider a few years ago when he discovered he had Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. He had already founded Two Beers Brewery in 2007, but now could not consume as much beer, which is high in gluten and exacerbates Crohn’s symptoms. Drinking gluten-free cider offered a welcome reprieve.

But Joel found that buying all that craft cider was getting expensive, since much of it was only offered in wine-sized bottles. Thus, he began to view cider through the lens of beer. Why not offer cider in a smaller, more accessible can instead? He saw cider as a natural bridge between beer and wine and an opportunity to appeal to a wide demographic. Along with partners Brent Miles (who is gluten-free) and Eric Willard (whose wife is gluten-free), Joel launched Seattle Cider in August 2013.

The cidery produces two year-round ciders, the Dry and the Semi-Sweet, made from a blend of Yakima Valley dessert apples. The Dry has zero residual sugar and is one of the driest on the market, making it an appealing choice for beer drinkers. The Semi-Sweet, their top seller, is light and crisp with a touch of sweetness. Both are offered in 16-ounce cans sold in 4-packs, which make them more accessible to folks eager to dive into cider. The way Joel & Co. see it, if someone wants to try cider out, they’d rather buy a 4-pack than spend $16 on a large bottle they might not like. Even if they don’t like the 4-pack, they can share the rest with friends.

The group’s focus on branding and marketing has helped Seattle Cider grow exponentially in the last year. The website is clean and accessible, and features an educational graphic on the cider making process. Their reach is growing, with current distribution in WA, OR, AK, CA, IL, and TX, and expansion planned for WI and MN next year. Best of all, you can enjoy all of Seattle Cider’s offerings right here in the Emerald City at The Woods, a sizable tasting room in SoDo shared with Two Beers Brewing. It’s here you’ll find Seattle Cider’s unique seasonal blends like PNW Berry (a berry cider aged in red wine barrels) in addition to their regular offerings.

Of course, you can also discover Seattle Cider at City Fruit’s 4th Annual Hard Cider Taste fundraiser November 6th. They’ll be featuring the Dry and the Semi-Sweet, as well as the Pumpkin Spice seasonal and, we hope, a few limited editions like Three Pepper, which is fermented with poblano, habanero, and jalapeno peppers. Grab your Cider Taste tickets now!

Seattle Cider logo