Posts Tagged ‘City Fruit’

Oct16

Whitewood Cider

Dave White started making cider on a small scale in 2000, inspired by cider he sampled from Westcott Bay Cider on San Juan Island. A third-generation Washington native, Dave is a graphic designer by trade, and has over a decade of experience working in the specialty coffee industry. Inspired by specialty coffee’s “third wave” and use of social media to promote and educate the public, he started the Old Time Cider blog in 2007 as a means of promoting cider and, quite literally, putting North American cider on the map.

Around 2006, “Old Timey Dave” got his hands on a cider press and, as he puts it, “started grabbing fruit from abandoned lots, friends and neighbors.” He even got permission to pick from a cemetery. “For 2-3 years, I made cider like that.”

Things started coming together in 2008, when Dave got in touch with Rich Anderson at Westcott Bay Cider, who let Dave pick apples from the Westcott orchard. That was also the year Dave took the Cider Practices and Principles course at the Washington State University Experimental Ag station with Peter Mitchell, an internationally renowned expert in hard cider and Perry production. Dave shares this distinction with a great many of City Fruit’s Cider Taste partners. You want to learn about making cider and Perry? Talk to Peter Mitchell.

“That’s where I met Sharon Campbell [co-founder of Tieton Cider],” Dave says. “She and myself, along with Lars Ringsrud from Snowdrift were kind of the catalyst to get the group together.” The group to which he’s referring would become the Northwest Cider Association (NWCA), one of City Fruit’s Cider Taste sponsors!

In 2012, Dave and partner Heather Ringwood founded Whitewood Cider in Olympia, WA. To raise capital, they started a CSC (Community Supported Cider) program, which continues to this day and is capped at 50 subscribers per season. Dave and Heather debuted their first blends in 2013 and haven’t looked back.

“The South Sounder is an homage to my beginning gleaning fruit from old homestead and CSA orchards,” Dave says. Made entirely from locally foraged fruit, “it changes a little bit each year based on what we get.”

The City Fruit Hard Cider Taste may very well feature the South Sounder, as well as Old Fangled, a 100 percent heirloom variety blend fermented from Washington-grown Jonathan, McIntosh, Gravenstein, and Winesap apples, and Northland, Whitewood’s traditional offering crafted from European cider apple varieties. Join City Fruit and Whitewood Cider at the Hard Cider Taste fundraiser on November 6th, and see for yourself Washington’s newest craft cidery in action!

Whitewood logo

Oct14

City Fruit Receives Funding from Wallingford Community Council

The Wallingford Community Council has awarded City Fruit a grant of $5,000 to help support the care and maintenance of fruit trees located at Meridian Playground and along the Burke-Gilman Trail. This funding is made possible by the neighborhood’s participation in the Waste Management Think Green Recycling Challenge.

Specifically, City Fruit will use the funding to engage in a large-scale effort to prevent pests from destroying fruit on the trees in Meridian Playground and the Good Shepherd Center orchard. This is the first year City Fruit has stewarded the park, harvesting over 2,000 pounds of fruit for donation to food banks and cleaning up another 7,000 pounds of fallen fruit.

Additionally, City Fruit will use the Wallingford Community Council grant to increase the number of natural pollinators in the neighborhood through the introduction of mason bees and native plants. Pollinators are essential to the production of fruit.

City Fruit thanks Jim Fryett, President of the the Wallingford Community Council for his leadership, Lee Raeen for coordinating the grant process, and the full Council for their support of the organization’s mission and these important projects.

 

Oct13

Partner Spotlight – Rainier Valley Food Bank

Miguel Jimenez is exactly where he wants to be—six months into his job as Resource Development Coordinator at the Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB). “I started getting interested in food systems in college,” he says. “I worked an endless series of dead-end jobs after school, until I realized that’s not where I wanted to be in life. This position puts me on a trajectory to stay in this field and do something where I actually wake up in the morning and am excited to go to work.”

Energetic and exceedingly amiable, Miguel fits right in at RVFB. The atmosphere is light, folks are smiling, and everyone, whether they are giving food away or graciously accepting it, is happy to be here. The facility, which is the third busiest food bank in all of Seattle, is one of the smallest by square footage. “Working here is kind of like this endless game of Tetris. We’re constantly moving stuff around to make space for people and food,” Miguel says. “That’s what we’re into, people and food.”

Each month, RVFB serves up to 18,000 guests and distributes close to 40,000 pounds of food. To ensure supply keeps up with demand, RVFB accepts donations from a wide variety of sources, including Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Seattle Urban Farm, Beacon Food Forest, neighborhood p-patches, food drives, churches, schools, and a litany of other community partners. City Fruit is proud to count itself among them.

Most Tuesdays during harvest season, City Fruit harvest coordinator Luke Jesperson drops off several crates of freshly picked South Seattle produce, often in excess of a hundred pounds. Harvested in the same neighborhood, sometimes just down the street, the fruit is picked from trees whose owners want to make a difference in their community. That spirit of sharing, of ensuring that no perfectly good food goes to waste, is of paramount importance to RVFB. Produce makes up a big portion of the food they give away, and a concerted effort is made to offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. City Fruit, Miguel says, is of paramount importance in this regard.

“We couldn’t do a number of the things we do without what City Fruit does for us,” he says. “We put a strong emphasis on being able to distribute food that is healthy, nutritious, local, and, if possible, organic. City Fruit is a perfect storm that meets all of those needs for us. Luke brings us beautiful plums and apples, even figs on occasion, which are just phenomenal.”

Those who rely on RVFB for food every week often don’t have access to quality produce anywhere else. The folks at RVFB believe that it shouldn’t matter how old you are, how much money you make, or where you come from; everyone deserves to eat, and to eat well. They offer three programs: general onsite food distribution, home delivery for individuals with travel or physical limitations, and the to-go or “cold bag” program, which provides guests without access to a kitchen or storage enough pre-prepared food to eat throughout the day.

“Food isn’t just food,” Miguel says. “It means something to people—culturally, historically, socially. We serve single mothers, young couples, elderly couples, big families, lots of immigrants from all over the world including China, Vietnam, Ukraine, the Horn of Africa, Central America, and from all over the US. We view food as a gathering point, as a way to bring community together over one fact that’s true for all of us, which is that we need to eat.”

One of the single mothers Miguel refers to is Marquita Mychon, who volunteered at RVFB when she was homeless. Now she lives in Covington with her son, Sidney, and partner, Wesley, whom she met while volunteering at RVFB. “It’s been a way to give back,” she says, reflecting on the two-and-a-half years she has spent volunteering with RVFB. She gestures to a truck dropping off diapers in front of the food bank. “They recently started a program giving out 45 diapers a month [donated by West Side Baby],” she says, smiling as she looks down at Sidney, cradled gently in her lap.

City Fruit gives away much of its harvest in the summer, a fact not lost on families with children that rely on free and reduced lunch during the school year. Fruits like apples, plums, and pears, which make up the majority of City Fruit’s harvest, are staple lunch snacks. What City Fruit donates to RVFB during the summer months helps to ensure that families can maintain healthy eating habits year-round.

“Every time Luke brings in 3-4 crates of apples, that week 150 kids in the neighborhood get a snack,” Miguel says. “That’s one fruit tree in the city, one way that somebody can sign up with City Fruit without having to do a lot, and the impact is just enormous in our neighborhood. That’s kind of extraordinary to think about. They’re not eating a bag of potato chips. They’re eating something that you grew yourself. That’s cool. That’s where you see how a small effort can make a really large impact.”

One tree. That’s all it takes to provide a healthy snack to hundreds of people a week. If you have a fruit tree and would like to donate some or all of your harvest next year, please contact City Fruit at info@cityfruit.org. Together, we can make the 2015 harvest the best one yet.

Brian Mickelson is the development manager at City Fruit. He can be reached at brian@cityfruit.org.

RVFB Logo

Oct10

Nashi Orchards

Cheryl Lubbert and Jim Gerlach take sustainability seriously. Very seriously. Since purchasing the 27-acre Nashi Orchards and Farm on Vashon Island ten years ago, they’ve set out to become responsible stewards not just for their own land, but for the entire island. Installing solar panels allowed them to move away from oil and go completely electric, selling additional electricity back to the grid. Each winter when the trees go dormant, a flock of St. Croix sheep takes to the orchards to eat any lingering fruit, increasing soil nutrient levels and reducing over-wintering pests that affect the whole island. Pomace, or the solid remains of fruit once it’s been pressed, is distributed to other island farms to feed local livestock. All this helps ensure that the surrounding ecosystem of forest and streams, neighboring properties, and even Puget Sound itself, reap the benefits.

This makes perfect sense when you talk to Jim Gerlach, who along with his wife Cheryl has set out to make the Nashi Orchards experience all about the place itself. “Part of what we really enjoy is being able to share what we do with other people,” he told City Fruit. “We have orchard tours to show folks around the operation. It’s one of the things we really like about what we’re doing.”

The orchards contain mostly Asian pear (also known as “nashi”) trees transplanted decades ago from a trial orchard on Maury Island (on the eastern side of Vashon Island) by Pete Svinth, known locally as “Farmer Pete”, an expert fruit tree hybridizer now living in Olympia. Nashi Orchards is one of the few cideries that uses Asian pears to make its Perry. One such varietal is “Chojuro,” made of several kinds of Asian pears and featuring a rummy, butterscotch flavor. Another, the “Island Harvest Blend,” contains Shinsseiki Asian, perry, and seedling pears, and boasts a more fruit forward taste. They also make hard cider, and this year started the Vashon Island Cider Collaborative, an effort to craft a unique hard cider exclusively from Vashon Island apples donated by community members who then vote for a specific Vashon nonprofit to receive a portion of the proceeds.

Like its island neighbor Dragon’s Head, Nashi Orchards will be celebrating Vashon Island Cider Fest this weekend, including an orchard tour at 1pm tomorrow (if you’re lucky, you might spot Cheryl and Jim’s two Bouvier de Flanders, Gunther and Franz, chasing crows and ravens out of the orchards). City Fruit is excited to have Nashi participate in our 4th Annual Hard Cider Taste fundraiser at the Palace Ballroom on November 6th. Come and experience the crisp, clean taste of Nashi Orchards Perry!

Sep22

Welcome Brian to City Fruit!

We are delighted to welcome Brian IMG_0866Mickelson to City Fruit as our development manager. With the growth of City Fruit, we have created this new membership and communications focused role. He’ll be busy expanding our membership benefits and community partnerships. Over the next few weeks, he will be very focused on our upcoming harvest celebration week, October 5-12 and our cider taste, November 6!

We are very lucky to have Brian’s great experience and enthusiasm joining our team. He immediately wowed our team with his passion for food and environmental issues, and his meticulous research and preparation. I know you’ll be impressed by his energy and passion for Seattle’s urban orchard and helping our neighbors in need. (Brian has already added several untended trees to our database)!

Brian comes to us from New York City, where he worked for the Environmental Defense Fund as development coordinator. Before that, he spent a good amount of time in academic publishing and worked as a copyeditor in Boston.  He’ll be working with City Fruit part-time as he pursues his Master’s degree in public policy at the Evans School at the University of Washington. And somehow in between all of that, he’s looking for a good hockey league to join!

Finally, Brian is acclimating nicely to Seattle.  He already loves the apple as his favorite fruit and eats at least one a day, usually with his lunch. Along with his public health focused fiancée, he purchased a Subaru, but bikes or buses to work. Email Brian at brian@cityfruit.org or meet him during one of our many October events!

Aug14

New to Fruit Trees – Summer Pruning

Pruning copyThis past weekend, I attended City Fruit’s second Sunday series at City People’s Garden Store on summer pruning with Bill Wanless.  The class was packed – over 30 attendees! Clearly, this is a topic of interest.

While my plum tree is too young for summer pruning, here are some tips and tricks to help promote growth and fruit production.

August is the best time for summer pruning. We prune fruit trees in the summer to improve the health of the tree, protect against pests and fungal disease, and produce more fruit or flowers. To make room for more sun and air, consider these cuts during summer pruning:

  • Cutting back new shoots that crowd the larger, more established branches,
  • Removing dead and broken branches,
  • Removing all suckers — branches that are growing from the base of the tree

Don’t prune too much – no more than a quarter of the total leaf surface in any one year. And don’t try to fix a tree in one year; if the tree needs a lot of work, do it over several years. For more guidance, check out this City Fruit video with Ciscoe Morris and Kristen Ramer Liang or this resource sheet.

Catherine Morrison is executive director of City Fruit and new to fruit trees. She planted her first tree, a Hollywood plum, earlier this year.  

Jun26

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 info@cityfruit.org 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 info@cityfruit.org

 

 

Jun18

Top Ten Reasons You Should Vote for City Fruit to Win $50,000!

There’s less than a week left to vote for City Fruit in Zipcar’s Communities with Drive program! We hope you’ve taken the time to help us win $50,000 and expand our urban harvest.  If you need a little more convincing, we have compiled a list of reasons to vote for us:

10.  Figs! You may not know it, but figs are a fruit grown throughout Seattle. Our annual gathering of figs helps sustain the harvest, as the fruit is too delicate for most food banks and we are able to sell them to partners like Tom Douglas Restaurants.

Fig

9. Apple cider. Each fall, we celebrate the apple harvest with a series of apple cider events in Seattle neighborhoods.  We also loan out our apple presses – one manual, one electric – to community organizations.  Tasty, delicious fresh apple cider? Yes, please!

8. Partners for a more sustainable future. We have a diverse range of partners that believe in the work we are doing and who help fund the harvest and our programming, including the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the King Conservation District.

7. Network of tree owners. With hundreds of residencies from around the Seattle area donating their trees to City Fruit, we help build communal solidarity through the idea that everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy produce. Neighbors get to participate in the sharing economy and build a stronger sense of community.

6. 55,000 pounds of fruit.  Over the last five years, City Fruit has harvested over 55,000 pounds of fruit from Seattle neighborhoods. This year the harvest is taking place in five neighborhoods – Wallingford, Ballard, South Seattle, West Seattle, and Phinney-Greenwood. We hope to continue expanding to new areas with your support, harvesting more fruit and getting it to those in need.

5. Stewardship. We conserve and protect Seattle’s natural resources by encouraging organic tree care, reducing the amount of pesticides entering our streams and oceans, and providing a healthy environment for our precious pollinators. Many of our orchard sites were once overrun with blackberry vines and other invasives before stewards intervened. We’re working to preserve urban orchards for the next generation.

4. Dedicated and knowledgeable Orchard Stewards. We train and support a network of hardworking volunteers who are committed to caring for Seattle’s diverse urban orchards. This amazing group works year-round to care for fruit trees and share knowledge with the public.

3. Delivering fresh fruit to 50 programs and growing. During the harvest season, City Fruit donates fruit to local food banks, meal programs, senior centers, and daycares, among others.  We’ve reached over 50 programs in the last five years.

2. Amazing volunteers.  From orchard stewards, to local volunteers, to corporate partners, to our amazing and talented board of directors, our work would not be possible without community support from people like you.

1. Rescuing a local resource. We take wasted, unused fruit and make it available to the emergency food system. Food banks often struggle to provide fresh produce for their patrons, and fresh fruit is especially appreciated and valuable. We also find uses for fruit that isn’t fresh eating quality, such as fresh cider, hard cider, preserves, and dried fruit.

Jun17

Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Beeman Calls City Fruit His Wellness Plan

UntitledCity Fruit is my wellness plan 

The rewards of volunteering at City Fruit go both ways, reflects Dave Beeman, recipient of the (2014) Gail Savina Outstanding Service Award. Dave describes his volunteer work as highly satisfying: “it feels really good!” Volunteering for City Fruit is not only mentally rewarding, but also the physical activity of being outside in the sunshine, under a plum or pear tree, is the best kind of workout. Who needs a gym? “There’s no better feeling,” Dave says. And the positive feelings go two directions. With great excitement, community members served by City Fruit are known to encircle Dave, reaching into the crate for nutritious fruits even before he reaches the door of Seattle’s Food Banks.

From IT to music teacher to jack of all trades 

Dave is known around Seattle as a classical piano teacher. One of his life’s passions, Dave was able to return to teaching music after a 20-year hiatus working in computer science. Dave’s knowledge of IT and data systems have benefitted City Fruit. In addition to picking and delivering fruit, and doing “whatever Gail tells me,” Dave is the engineer behind City Fruit’s computer systems. Coordinating the harvest across 5 neighborhoods, multiple volunteers and staff, and hundreds of trees bearing a variety of fruits throughout the harvest season can be a complex undertaking. Dave’s IT skills have made this coordination run smoothly. Need to know when the apple season will begin? City Fruit’s records provide answers from previous years’ harvests. Where to send the next crop of plum pickers to harvest and deliver for the neighborhood food bank? Consult the database. Which of our partners want to buy figs? Let’s look that up!

It’s all about relationships 

Seattle is a city of orchards. We have an abundance of fruit, and much of it is REALLY GOOD fruit. Selling figs and up to 10% of other valuable fruit to local business partners has been a way to sustain City Fruit and underwrite the costs of running the organization. These relationships help make a strong organization, and they bring meaning to the volunteers who interface with City Fruit’s partners. Dave delivers sellable fruits to the kitchens of many of Seattle’s favorite chefs, often providing the story of the fruit’s origins and the people who picked it. Over the years, Dave has developed friendships with many of these partners, and his connections have landed him a tasty sweet treat here and there, such as a fig bar from Dahlia Bakery.

Many already know that Dave Beeman is married to founder and former executive director, Gail Savina. Among Dave’s many volunteer responsibilities, perhaps his most important contribution has been to serve as a sounding board and “listening to Gail” through the ins-and-outs of running a great organization. Now that Gail has moved on, she’s still suggesting ways for Dave to help City Fruit. Gail recently told Executive Director, Kate Morrison: “Need help picking fruit? Dave’ll be available.”

For Dave, volunteering for City Fruit is fulfilling. Harvest the unused fruit growing in the city, deliver the nutritious fruit to Seattle’s emergency food distribution, maintain the urban orchard and its database, and build community. “It’s such a wonderful organization, built around a simple concept.”

Interested in getting involved as a City Fruit volunteer? Contact Melanie Peters, City Fruit’s Community Outreach Coordinator.

City Fruit Board Member, Melissa Poe, recently caught up with Dave Beeman, recipient of the 2014 Gail Savina Outstanding Service Award. Above, Melissa tells us about “Dave’s Story” and what has motivated his excellent volunteer service to City Fruit over the years.

Jun12

Harvest Season has Begun!

As someone who is very interested in supporting local food and food justice movements, yesterday was a very exciting day for two reasons. First, and most importantly, yesterday it was reported that farmworkers had reached a $500,000 dollar settlement with Sakuma Brothers berry farm located in Burlington. The agreement also included reforms to keeping track of workers’ labor as well as longer and more consistent breaks throughout the day. Second, yesterday was also my first City Fruit harvest of the year! I was able to pick a few pounds of delicious cherries from the yard of one of our donors.

Cherry season has come earlier than ever before!

Cherry season has come earlier than ever before!

This was especially thrilling for me as it was almost three weeks earlier than we’d ever harvested in past years. Thanks to the warm spring along with some timely rain, we expect most of our fruit varieties to be ready much earlier than normal. Remember, if you have not yet taken our survey on whether or not you’d like your tree harvested, please do so. Ready or not, here harvest season comes!

 

Jun09

Help City Fruit Win $50,000 to fund the Urban Harvest!

FINAL_CommunitieswithDriveFinalistTemplate_LogoWe are thrilled to announce that City Fruit was chosen as a finalist of the “Communities with Drive” program, sponsored by Zipcar, Inc. and Ford Motor Company.  Communities with Drive is designed to acknowledge and reward organizations that have a profound impact on the communities in which they operate. As one of 25 finalists from over 400 entries and the only finalist in Seattle, we are eligible to win $50,000 in cash as well as $15,450 in Zipcar credit to support our mission. Winners of the Communities with Drive program are voted on by the public on Facebook.

Vote for City Fruit on Facebook! 

The cash prize and Zipcar credit will be used to fund our annual harvest in five Seattle neighborhoods: Ballard, Phinney/Greenwood, South Seattle, Wallingford, and West Seattle. The grand prize would enable us to reach more neighborhoods — translating unused, wasted fruit into healthy, nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Our work is more important than ever; half of Seattle families facing hunger are not eligible for nutrition programs like food stamps.  City Fruit, along with our partners, help to fill that gap.

Please vote here and help spread the news!

Jun04

Summer Bliss in the Urban Orchard

Having just moved to Seattle from the Midwest in December to join City Fruit, I’ve yet to experience a true Pacific Northwest summer. In fact, many times when I talk to people about how I just moved to Seattle in December, they sort of lament with me a bit over the timing of my move, tell me to pep up, and that soon enough the weather will be so immaculate that  I’ll never want to be inside. If this weekend at the urban orchard  over at Amy Yee Tennis Center was anything like what summers in the PNW will be like, then I’m staying for good.

With the help of over 30 volunteers, we managed to put organic pest barriers on over 2,200 apples. Yes, you read that right. Together, we saved 2,200 apples from possibly being infected by worms, falling to ground, and essentially getting mushed up underneath our shoes. Our incredible volunteers came from various parts of our community — some from Issaquah, Edmunds, Kirkland, various neighborhoods in South Seattle, and even a van load of AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers from all over the country who were returning to Sacramento from the Oso mudslide disaster.

Check out some pictures below and join City Fruit as a volunteer in any capacity that you can this year! You can reach me at: melanie@cityfruit.org.

 

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Jun02

Welcome Yoga Behind Bars!

Meet our office-mates at El Centro–Yoga Behind Bars

Like City Fruit, this amazing organization is working in the Puget Sound area to make our community a more just and pleasant place to live. Below is a little about their mission, and a note from Rosa and Nari. We’re lucky to have such an inspiring team working alongside us.


 

ybb_decalYoga Behind Bars is the only nonprofit in Washington offering thousands of incarcerated people – youth, women, and men – yoga and meditation as tools for self-awareness, healing and transformation.  Just last year, over 18,000 people lived behind bars in Washington State. Through our programs, we strive to break the cycle of suffering and give people the opportunity to heal and prepare for healthy, fulfilling lives once they finish their sentences. Our volunteer teachers currently offer 27 weekly classes at 10 correctional facilities around the Puget Sound.

We are excited to share an office with City Fruit at El Centro, as we share a passion for social justice and healthy communities. Since we are both grassroots nonprofits, we face similar challenges and opportunities–the YBB team looks forward to exchange ideas, share resources and collaborate when possible. And although this is not directly related, our Executive Director is a permaculture designer who loves to garden.

You can learn more at their website: http://yogabehindbars.org

May30

The Collecting of Fruit and Thoughts

Hey there folks!

Meridian Park Orchard

Meridian Park Orchard – Photo by Audrey L. Lieberworth

Welcome to my City Fruit blog which will allow you to follow me as I ensconce myself in the food issues affecting the city Tom Robbins excitedly described as, “the best place to go to experiment with life,” -Seattle, WA. My name is Luke Jesperson and I am the new Harvest Coordinator at City Fruit. Our Executive Director and founder, Gail Savina, who has been coordinating the fruit harvest since the inception of City Fruit in 2009, is in the process of gradually retiring. While she will be advising me throughout the year, the work will be on my shoulders. As the old idiom goes, “I’m being thrown to the wolfberries,” and man do I have tons to learn! I’ve been told that the key to finding fruit to harvest is to first find trees that bear fruit and to find trees to harvest takes the generosity of the people of the community to donate their trees for us to harvest. If any of you would like to donate your fruit tree, please fill out this two-question survey. It is greatly appreciated!

What I hope to achieve with my blog is three-fold: one goal is to keep people updated on the status and my successes/failures during the fruit harvest in our community while highlighting the organizations working on this issue. My second goal is offer suggestions, opportunities, events to attend for those looking to learn and become more involved in food and hunger issues. And third, this blog will be a place in which I can reflect on the real issues of food justice, security, and hunger affecting our community today. After spending four years thinking about food on an international scale, multiple summers farming on a small, sustainable level, I look forward to working at the city level trying to have a positive impact on our community.

I’m very excited for the harvest season. As the Blue Scholars correctly stated, “ain’t nothin’ better than a summer in the Upper Left.”

 

 

 

 

Apr24

Passionate public health expert to lead City Fruit

City Fruit is growing fast, and for the past six months we’ve been looking to bring on someone with the energy and skills to take us to the next level.  I’m thrilled to introduce you to Catherine (Kate) Morrison.

CEMKate combines public sector know-how with a deep commitment to food justice.  Raised in St. Louis, she has a ten-year career in public health focused on building healthy communities.  Kate has been involved in efforts to address food deserts and build community markets in low-access areas, address senior hunger issues, and create safe neighborhood parks.

Kate’s skill set has already earned the respect and confidence of City Fruit’s board and myself. A great communicator, she has worked with local coalitions and organizations in nearly all 50 states to create public health policy, is an experienced political organizer, has managed million dollar-plus budgets and work plans, and has worked directly with lawmakers and regulators.  As you might expect, we feel extremely fortunate to have this depth and breadth of experience.

Kate is also a go-getter.  A resident of Seattle for less than two months, she has already found a job, bought a house, and signed up for her first Preventing Pests in Fruit Trees class — as she and her fiancee Andrew look forward to adding fruit trees to their new home in Greenwood.

Maybe most important is that quality you don’t see on the resume:  Kate’s compassion and kindness.  A self-described activist, it’s clear her motivation for joining City Fruit is a deep concern for making Seattle a better place for everyone to live and eat. Please welcome Kate at our Open House on May 3,  3:00 – 6:00,  in the new office at El Centro de la Raza.

 

 

 

 

Apr14

Eat for Equity Seattle

358253-250Looking for a way to spice up Sunday brunch?

On April 27th, why not dine to support immigrant and workers’ rights? Eat for Equity Seattle organizes community feasts for a cause, working towards building aculture of generosity in Seattle. Each month, E4E organizes events to bring community together for the greater good.

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In September, Eat for Equity held a community feast for City Fruit at the Picardo P-Patch, raising almost $400! This April, E4E is supporting the May 1st Action Coalition, which brings together individuals, community representatives and organizations to advance key workers’ struggles and immigration reform.

 

 

358254-250The Coalition organizes Seattle’s annual May Day March and Rally for Immigrant and Workers Rights to celebrate International Worker’s Day and advocate a more just and humane immigration system.

This will be Eat for Equity’s first ever brunch, and it will be hosted at El Centro de la Raza. The menu is cooked from scratch by volunteers, and will feature a biscuits and local jam (made by P-Patchers!) spring salad, a sunchoke and potato puree with breakfast sausages, quiches, a cardamom fruit salad, pour-over coffee and local tea, as well as Poinsettias made to order.

Everyone is welcome at this private party, but you must RSVP to secure your spot. Details can be found when you RSVP.

Interested in volunteering? Email seattle@eatforequity.org

Visit them on the web: www.eatforequity.org/seattle, follow us on Facebook: Eat for Equity Seattle, and on Instagram and Twitter: @eatforequitysea

Apr10

Celebrate Spring; Two great classes this weekend!

The weather outside is perfect for getting back into your garden, and perfect for pollinators to make their rounds in the fruit trees. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out these classes:


pollinators

Attract & Provide Safe Haven for Beneficial Pollinators, with journeyman-level certified beekeeper, Bob Redmond
SATURDAY 10am-Noon @ Bradner Gardens Park, 1730 Bradner Place South

If you’re interested in Native Pollinators, Don’t miss this class! Native pollinators comprise 99.96% of the pollinator species on the planet, and their existence is constantly under threat. Learn about these amazing species, their extreme importance to the future and security of food, and how you can benefit pollinators in your garden.

We’ll cover:
• Why pollination is vital for successful fruit crops
• History of pollinators
• How native bees differ from the standard honey bee
• How to identify native bees
• Attracting native bees—including what to plant
• How to create nesting habitats

City Fruit members – $20; general public – $25


containers

Success with Container-Grown Fruit Trees with Jacqueline Cramer, co-founder of Beacon Food Forest

SUNDAY 11am-Noon @ City People’s Garden Store, 2939 East Madison Street

Growing fruit trees in containers allows you to save space, move the tree around, reduce disease and, in many cases, produce more fruit. Join us to find out how you can successfully grow fruit in a small space!

We’ll cover:
• Appropriate trees for containers
• Soil types
• Understanding rootstocks
• Best Pruning techniques
• Special considerations for container trees

This class is part of the Second Sunday Series of fruit tree classes, a collaboration between City People’s Garden Store and City Fruit.

Call City People’s at 206-324-0737 to register – space is FREE, but an RSVP is required/appreciated. We hope to see you there!

Feb11

Farm Imaginings visits Danny Woo

Danny Woo Garden/Orchard © Camille Dohrn

Danny Woo Garden/Orchard © Camille Dohrn

 

A friend of City Fruit and local photographer Camille recently took a journey to Danny Woo community garden and orchard with her camera, and has some lovely photos to share. Check them out on her site, the Farm Imaginings blog:

http://www.farmimaginings.com/urban-farms/danny-woo-community-garden/

Jan30

Support City People’s to support City Fruit

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City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley is a locally owned and operated community garden store. Since opening in 1988, we have been committed to offering a wide selection of quality plants and organic and natural products to help you grow them. With over 15,000 square feet, the outdoor nursery is an urban oasis!

City People’s strives to give back to our communities who have so generously supported us over the years. Through donations and marketing avenues we support organizations that help us grow healthy communities in the areas of environment and gardening, education and youth programs, and food security.

This winter the Garden Store is concentrating support toward City Fruit through the sale of bare root fruit shrubs and trees.* 10% of the proceeds from the sale of these items through March will go to City Fruit. We will also host City Fruit workshops this month and throughout the year (details below, and on the calendar).

Bare root berries are coming from Peaceful Valley Farm, an organic farm in California; raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, and currants, plus rhubarb, jerusalem artichoke, & asparagus. We are excited about this new organic vendor who use no sprays (including biological sprays), making sure not to harm any critters – especially fragile bees and butterflies.

Bare root trees from Mt Vernon, Washington and Mallala, Oregon include:
Apples – dwarf, columnar, espaliered & 4-way combo varieties
Pears – espaliered & 4-way combos
Cherries – including several dwarf varieties
Hardy Nectarine – dwarf
<& Plums, Figs, Meyer Lemons, Honeyberry, Kiwi, Japanese Pepper, Goumi, Grape and Hops!

City People’s Garden Store’s bare root fruit selection will be arriving the first week of February. Come early for the best selection!

* Buying bare root plants is an affordable way to grow your edible garden as you are buying only the plant and not the soil or the pot.


Don’t forget to check out City People’s Garden Store’s fruit-related talks coming this spring:
Registration is required. To sign up for a workshop, send an email to gardenstore@citypeoples.com or call the store (206) 324-0737.

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning
Sunday, February 9th, 11 am – noon
Winter fruit tree pruning can improve overall health and appearance and can increase fruit production. This class, co-sponsored by City Fruit, discusses pruning tools, basic biology behind pruning fruit trees, basic cuts and how to stimulate fruit production.

Planting Fruit Trees
Sunday, February 16th, 11 am – noon
Getting your fruit tree off to a healthy start means buying a healthy tree and planting it correctly. Root health is critical for tree health, and this class demonstrates the key considerations in planting a new tree. Bare root trees will be available and a portion of purchases of fruit will go to CityFruit. Instructor Jana Dilley is the Program Manager for the City of Seattle’s reLeaf program and is a certified arborist.

Pollinators — Mason Bees, Honey Bees & Others
Sunday, March 9th, 11 am – noon
Learn why pollinators are critical to fruit production, why mason bees are helpful in the Pacific Northwest rain, and how to encourage pollinators in your yard and orchard. This workshop is co-sponsored by City Fruit.

Jan30

Announcing our new Master Fruit Tree Steward Program

Fruit trees remind us of our agricultural past and continue to be an important community resource. To date, City Fruit has harvested more than 50,000 pounds of fruit from residential trees and donated it to those who otherwise couldn’t afford fresh produce. Keeping these urban fruit trees healthy is a priority.

MasterFruitTreeStewardProgram_01In 2014 City Fruit will launch a new Master Fruit Tree Steward Program with support from the King Conservation District Community Partnership Program. City Fruit will train lay fruit tree experts who can, in turn, teach their neighbors—an efficient and effective way to improve the health and productively of urban fruit trees.

In this train-the-trainer program volunteers will participate in workshops, field trips, and mentoring sessions on fruit tree care in exchange for providing hands-on support and mentoring to Seattle residents who live on properties with fruit trees. The 2014 goals include designing the curriculum, producing videos and slide shows, training an initial cohort of volunteer stewards, and creating a business model that is replicable and self-supporting.

Workshops will run from July – Dec 2014. Anyone interested in joining the project to become a Master Fruit Tree Steward should contact info@cityfruit.org  by May 15.