With July on the horizon, the City Fruit harvest season has officially begun to take form. The hot weather we had in early spring has thrown things into flux: the fruit that demands early rains has been slow to get going and those that thrive in the heat are showing signs of being up to a month earlier than ever before. Growing up in North Dakota on a family farm, surrounded by other farmers, I could insert many a cliche about the weather and farming here, but I’ll spare you. What I really want to do is give a quick summary of what the early harvest has been bringing in.
Thus far we have a picked almost 500 pounds of fruit this year! Other than a very small early season cherry harvest, red plums and transparent apples are all that we have picked so far. We have harvested 85 pounds of plums and about 410 pounds of apples. This fruit has been given to our food bank partners throughout the city and the University of Washington Farm CSA, in which City Fruit offers a fruit add-on to their incredible veggie shares. With (on average) 4 apples and 7 plums equaling a pound, City Fruit has already harvested and provided to our community approximately 1600 apples and 595 plums.
While I’m technically writing this blog for our reading audience, phrasing the impact in this way is probably more important to me than it is to any of you reading out there. I often lose sight of the forest through the trees once the season really begins to pick up; I think only about the fruit on the trees, focusing on the idea of upping my total pounds harvested and total sites visited. While it is very important to pay attention to those details, it’s equally important to keep an eye on the bigger system, from harvest to distribution and consumption. I ground myself in the simple idea that 1 piece of fruit picked = 1 piece of fruit consumed = 1 piece of fruit removed from Seattle’s waste system. That reframing keeps me very motivated each and every day.
The July 4th holiday usually marks the start of the chaos of the full-on harvest season. Here’s to hoping this opportunity to reflect will keep that simple equation in my mind as the wild ride of the summer harvest kicks in!