Posts Tagged ‘fruit trees’

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.

 

Sep02

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.

Aug21

Meet City Fruit Ambassador, Phil!

Phil fruitselfie                 Philfruitselfie2

Meet Phil. Phil is just one of 13 City Fruit Ambassadors. The Ambassador program is simple: as an Ambassador you’re the voice and face of City Fruit in the neighborhood of your choice by committing 3-5 hours of volunteer work every month for a year. There are general themes and objectives during certain months, but you get to choose your activities based on your skills and passions. As an Ambassador you receive awesome City Fruit gear, support and guidance from our Community Outreach Coordinator, and a cool community of like-minded folks in your neighborhood to meet and collaborate with on projects!

But let’s get back to Phil. Phil is one of our Ballard Ambassadors. In the words of Phil, “Really, it boils down to the people for me.” Before Phil was a City Fruit Ambassador, he led volunteer fruit tree harvests with Solid Ground — an incredible organization that used to harvest fruit trees in Seattle’s northern neighborhoods. Leading neighborhood harvests in Ballard is the reason why Phil decided to become an Ambassador.

As an Ambassador, Phil enjoys getting to know people  be it fruit tree donors or the people who receive the donated fruit. When Phil harvests a tree he likes to get to know the tree donor — why did they choose to donate their tree, what’s their experience with fruit trees, the history of their tree, etc.

However, what affects Phil most is the actual delivery of the fruit: “When you get to experience the appreciation for something that I think we all take for granted [access to fresh food] it changes the way you look at your own circumstances. It really makes me feel very fortunate, and energizes me to take steps to help others.”

To learn more about how to get involved with City Fruit, sign up to volunteer at one of our regularly scheduled harvests here. And don’t forget to view our calendar for other opportunities, too!

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

 

 

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!

Jan30

Support City People’s to support City Fruit

cfluvcpeople

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.

Jul31

City Fruit Cocktail Class @ Cuoco

City Fruit Cocktail classPRICE: $40 all inclusive

Purchase Tickets

DATE: 08/15/2013
TIME: at Cuoco
LOCATION: Cuoco’s Sophia Room
VIEW MAP

Cost: $40 for one class

All proceeds of this event will benefit City Fruit

Cuoco is proud to team up with *City Fruit for a 3 month series of cocktail classes.  These cocktail classes will focus on the fruit being harvested around the city and will demonstrate various techniques for utilizing fruit in drinks including bitters, infusions, syrups, purees, pickles and more!  Sampling of all the drinks created as well as snacks will be provided, along with the opportunity to get some hands on participation.

Class attendees can expect to take home recipes, a city fruit membership (which gives them access to special events as well as discounts at various nurseries around town), fruit from City Fruit, as well as treats to make cocktails at home!

Class Schedule:

  • Thursday, September 19th: Italian Plums and Asian Pears
  • Thursday, October 24th: Apples and European Pears

 

All classes begin at 6pm and are located in Cuoco’s Sophia Room.
Class size is limited to 20 seats.
*City Fruit promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community and protect climate.  The organization helps tree ownders grow healthy fruit, provide assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promote the sharing of extra fruit and work to protect urban fruit trees.  City Fruit focuses on: Conservation, preservation of the urban tree canopy, stewardship, harvest, using and sharing fruit as well as community building.

 

Feb22

Exceptions to the Rules: Topping and Heading Trees

Don Ricks pruning an apple tree in Piper's Creek Orchard

Excerpt from Cass Turnball’s article published in Plant Amnesty‘s Winter 2013 newsletter.

I’ve spent a life-time trying to convince people not to top their fruit trees. Such treatment does not increase the amount of fruit down low–there just won’t be that wasted fruit up high where it can’t be reached. Instead, Plant Amnesty classes demonstrate restoration pruning for the victims of previous top jobs. Those trees were an incredible mess. Their watersprouts shot for the moon and only arch over and make fruit after they had re-attained their previous two-story size. The apple and pear trees survive, mostly, with their hollow trunks, but the cherries just die. Dr. Alex Shigo once said, “Some of the most abused trees in the world are fruit trees.” I have used the word ‘abuse’ as sort of joke when applied to trees. Shigo didn’t. He helped me see small trees, including fruit trees, as deserving respect, another favorite word of that great man,

That said, topping an old apple or pear tree under certain circumstances can be the rational thing to do (just not the ones you see everywhere, all the time). I do believe that the old trees at Pipers Creek Orchard were radically renovated (topped, or severely crown reduced) many years ago. This included a lot of dedicated follow up heading and thinning of the resulting explosion of watersprouts. The fruit is, I suspect, bigger and better as it receives more of the tree’s energy and sunlight. And they look great. I have an illustration of topping an old apple tree in an OSU extension bulletin as well. What the bulletin failed to mention is: 1) the tree might die, and 2) if it doesn’t, a lot if follow-up pruning would be needed. Otherwise, your tree turns into a giant mess. The truth is that most people keep their apple trees for sentimental purposes, not maximum fruit production, so dramatic measures don’t make much sense. Then again, with the resurgence in organic, urban, and home food production, this sort of radical renovation is a valid point of discussion.

Feb06

Better trees = better fruit

What you do with your fruit trees this winter has a big impact on the quality and quantitiy of fruit you’ll get later. We’ve already put on two pruning classes this year and now here’s a chance for some additional hands-on learning.

Get one-on-one pruning advice from an expert while helping to renovate a neglected orchard.  You can’t beat that.  The first event is tomorrow Feb 6 in south Seattle (plum trees only). The other is Feb 13 in Factoria (many varieties).   No charge.  Sign up at info@cityfruit.org .

Or maybe you want your trees pruned but you missed the classes and aren’t sure where to begin? City Fruit has trained a number of volunteers to help homeowners prune their trees.  If you would like some help, contact info@cityfruit.org.  If you have a big job and need a professional who is experienced in pruning fruit trees (not everyone is), contact the Plant Amnesty referral service  at 206-783-9813.

Aug31

The Festival of Fruit: Sept 19

Join the Friends of Piper Orchard and Seattle Parks and Recreation on Saturday, Sept. 19, for The Festival of Fruit, a harvest celebration. The festival takes place at the park, 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Festival highlights include:

  • Talks and exhibits on non-toxic pest control methods, bee keeping, selection and care of your own fruit trees, and more!
    Fun for young-uns in the Kids Korner!
    Sample fresh pressed cider!
  • Naturalist-led walk to the historic 118 year-old orchard
    Pie Baking Contest: Bring a home-baked pie made of local or organic apples to enter in the pie contest. Judges will taste at noon!
  • For detailed schedule information, please visit the web at www.pipersorchard.org or e-mail carkeek.park@seattle.gov.

    City Fruit will be there for sure. Promises to be a good time.