Monday, September 14, 2009

Just Plum Helpful

Each fall for the past 6 years that we have lived in our current house, September has ushered in a feast of Italian Plums from our lone backyard tree. I have no idea how old it is, but it is mature and has produced ample fruit for Mrs. LIAYF and I to eat whole, cook with, and give away to family and friends. Unfortunately, that has still accounted for only a fraction of the fruit this tree bears and thus each year way too much fruit has gone to waste. Something needed to be done.

Then, earlier this year we heard about a local program called Community Harvest. The goal of Community Harvest and their volunteers is to pick fruit trees, such as our Italian Plum, and to make that harvested fruit available to local food bank patrons. We loved the idea and signed our tree up for the program.

When the volunteers came to do the picking, I had just arrived home from work and Mrs. LIAYF pulled up with Lukas moments later. "How many volunteers are there?" she asked. "Just two, but they look young and spry" I replied. (they did) "Yeah, you don't sound old at all" she laughed before explaining to Lukas, who had been eating plenty plums off the tree, what was going on. He initially got pretty upset at the prospect of sharing his plums. Tears were shed.

However, Mrs. LIAYF explained to him that we would be sharing these with families who need them, and asked him if he wanted to help with the harvest. He was excited to help out, even requesting I lift him up high to get the hidden fruit.

When finished, over 200 lbs of fruit was harvested for our local food bank. Eight boxes full, not counting the half box we kept for ourselves. It proved a bountiful harvest, and a great opportunity to teach our son a valuable lesson in sharing.

Especially when you have more than you can consume.


OneZenMom said...

That is awesome on every level! Great job! :)

A Free Man said...

Great idea. We've got a couple of fruit trees that bear far more than we can eat. We usually bring stuff into neighbors and work, but even still a lot of it goes to waste.

SciFi Dad said...

That's a really smart idea. My dad had three fruit trees in our backyard (two peach, one pear) and the fruit always ended up rotten on the ground before he could get all of it.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Zen Mom - It worked out well for everyone.

@A Free Man - I am surprised more communities don't do this. What kind of fruit trees do you have?

@Scifi Dad - We have a pear tree too, but it is not mature enough to make it worth while yet.

Lady Mama said...

What a great program. And good to involve your son. I wish they had something similar here for all the apples that are currently sitting on my lawn.

Lindsay said...

I saw that on the news a couple of weeks ago. I need to look for a program in the northend that does the same thing. Awesome.

p.s. happy belated birthday!

Eric said...


Martin said...

Nice memories there, we had plum trees at home.

Enough for about 2 jars of jam.

Steve said...

What a great idea and a great experience for your family. I may just have to see whether we have such schemes over here before going to pick the apples from my Dad's trees in the next few weeks.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Lady Mama - Yeah, apples are a shame to waste. I can get 10 up on top, how about you?

@FalkFamily - Thanks for the birthday wishes. This program was a great success, so perhaps it will be expanded north.

@Eric - Plumzactly.

@Xbox - I bet that was very sweet jam.

@Steve - Let me know if you do find a program. That would be great to hear about.

Knatolee said...

Brilliant idea! And great that Lukas got involved.

WILLIAM said...

That rocks and is awesome. When I lioved in Florida I had a grapefruit tree that produced more Grapefruit than I had vodka for. I wish I knew of a local harvest program then.