Monday, June 22, 2009

Apricotting up north

Produce to the People was invited to join an apricot harvest up in Winters on an inherited orchard that is being cared for, rather than farmed, by the family of Susan Boshoven, a biology teacher who has been working on organizing a compost program at Mission High School. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I do love apricots and I'm not sure why but as plum crrrazy as we are here in San Francisco, we just don't have the same fervor for apricots. So I tossed some fruit pickers and ladders into the back of the biodiesel benz, picked up my treehugging friend Sara, and made the hike up north to warmer climates and wider open spaces.

We made it up there mid-day and arrived just in time to share lunch with a lovely group of folks that Tree from The Free Farm Stand had organized. They had been hard at work all morning, but there was still TONS of bounty to be picked after a bit of snacking.

The fruit was quite ripe and ready, so the FFS folks were making use of the "shake and catch" method of picking, when folks hold the corners of a tarp or bed sheet and one person either gets in the tree or grabs the branches from below and shakes like wild while everyone else caches the fruit (and usually ducks and hollers as fruit bounces off their heads). Yeah, it's pretty fun.

Sara and I opted for a bit slower going approach, since it really was a perfect hand picking orchard, we just wandered and picked what we could reach. I maybe just might have climbed a tree or two. maybe.

In the end our harvest was huge, over 300 lbs of super delicious fruit for a few hours of work (not including the 400 some odd lbs Tree's crew brought back to the city, and however many lbs we brought back in our bellies!). All of which would have gone to waste, but instead went to the Free Farm Stand, Martin de Porres, Food not Bombs, and the Empress and Windsor SRO Hotels. PttP does like to focus our energy on what we can do inside the SF city limits, but for a big haul that can feed a whole lot of people beautiful organic fruit, we're willing to step outside the neighborhood every now and again.

p.s. there was a very cute family of wild turkeys also partaking in the bounty. share and share alike!

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