Urban U-Pick Farms

Posted · 22 Comments

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  With design work, teaching, homelife, and preserving… I have been swamped.  I actually missed the farmers market this morning, slept in and took today for me.  It’s been so relaxing and I’m excited to get in my kitchen and cook a nice homemade meal for the family.

As most of you know, we are in the middle of preserving season.  There are many ways to freeze, preserve and ferment to save for those long winter months ahead of us. In the next couple of weeks, make sure to stop by as I share recipes on ways to preserve pickles, beets, beans, squash, tomato’s, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears!

Today, I wanted to share with you what my friends and I call, Urban U-Pick Farms.  I know, sounds funny!  Living in the city, it’s so easy to drive by those familiar streets day by day without really taking the time to look at the trees planted in your neighbors yard.  My encouragement is to look up and take notice!  Since I started preserving a couple years ago, I started to take note of apple trees, pear trees, peach trees, and grape vines.  I was surprised to see neighbors with trees full of apples to harvest and saddened only to watch them fall one by one to the ground and compost away.  So this year, I took the plunge and house by house, I left a note asking for the harvest if the owner was not going to harvest the apples themselves.  To my delight my neighbor’s and friends were actually thrilled for someone to unload their trees!  My friends, Tracey, Bethany and I spent an afternoon picking urban apples and pears without having to leave the city and a blessing in that they were absolutely free!  Next time you see a tree loaded with fruits, keep an eye on it.  Check to see if it’s being harvested.  If not, stop by or leave a note.  You never know unless you ask :)  So stay tuned as I share what I’ve been preserving.  You better believe apple sauce, apple butter, pear preserves and pear jam are on their way!

Are you also in the middle of preserving exhaustion but delight in the fruits of your labor?  Please share what you’ve been canning or freezing or fermenting.  It’s so much fun to learn new recipes and techniques.  I’ll also be sharing a couple of great preserving books I’ve included in my library this year!

Here are some picks of three canning gals at our local Urban U-Pick Farms!

My friend Tracey reaching for apples!
Tracey and Bethany loading up the bags
Bethany pulling down apples
12 bags of apples
Nehe, munching on a strawberry!
Zekie, my berry face :)
Bethany was determined to have pears!
Jenna enjoying a pear!
3 of 9 bags filled with pears

22 Responses to "Urban U-Pick Farms"
  1. girlichef says:

    That is so amazing and so wonderful that your neighbors are willing to share! I have always wanted fruit trees in my yard (someday…) and always cringe a little when I see ones that go untended and uneaten and unloved… 😀 Love your badge…off to add it to my page 😀

  2. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow this is so cool i love it, what a great idea

  3. 5 Star Foodie says:

    pretty neat to be able to pick the fruits without leaving the city! That's a lot of pears!

  4. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    What a great idea! I'm looking forward to your preserving recipes.

  5. My Little Space says:

    Diana, you seems like having fun…ha ha! And the kids are enjoying it very much, I can see that!

  6. juliecache says:

    we did this too! score!

  7. Mother Rimmy says:

    What a great blog post. The kids look like they are really having a good time!

  8. *Lesli* says:

    oh yay! that's awesome! i think a lot of folks just assume that people in the city don't have fruit growing in their yard, so good for you for taking the time to find out. Looks like it paid out well and the kids are adorable little fruit faces! Love your new blog look! I thought I was on the wrong site!

  9. realfoodmama says:

    What a great way to get fresh fruits! Santa Fe, NM used to have a map of all the local "communal" fruit trees around town but I haven't been able to find it for a while.

    Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

    – RFM

  10. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    Wow, I've seen houses with fruit trees on my drive into work, but I never have thought to stop and ask about them. I'd love to have access to free fresh fruit!

  11. Hummingbird Appetite says:

    I heard about this trend on the radio. Very cool. I hope you do video on canning.

  12. penny aka jeroxie says:

    oh wow!! What a great idea and it builds the community as well.

  13. Diana Bauman says:

    Thanks so much everyone for your kind comments :)

    WW – thanks so much for visiting! Looking forward to checking out your blog :)

    girlichef – Thanks for adding my badge, you rock!!

    Lesli – thanks!! Hope Carter gets better!!

    realfoodmama – Communal fruit trees, wow! I am going to look this up here in my community.

    Tasty Eats at Home – Definitely ask :)

    Jenny – Video on canning.. hmmm… Good idea!!

    penny – definitely does build community! I'm excited to take some jam and sauce to the kind neighbors who gave up their fruit :)

  14. ValleyWriter says:

    I've heard of a few people doing this lately – great idea! Can't wait to check out some of your canning recipes!

  15. Bella says:

    What a great post about harvesting fresh fruit as a community….wish there was more like this going on everywhere. Thanks for sharing Diana!

  16. Jessie says:

    that was nice of your neighbors to share their fresh fruits, I wish we had fruit trees around here

  17. ~Sara says:

    I just picked 11 bags of apples from my in-laws neighbors house! It is wonderful to take advantage of produce someone else would otherwise just let go to waste. He was so grateful that we took them off his hands and he didn't have to clean up all the fallen apples on the ground.

    It was a win-win situation.

    I have already made 8 quarts of applesauce out of 2 bags and plan to can more applesauce and apple filling tomorrow!

  18. Lisa R. (keizerfire) says:

    It’s wonderful you and your friends have discovered this wonderful commodity and put it to good use. Here in Salem, OR I am the communications leader for SalemHarvest.org, a group that now has more than 3,000 members and growing. We harvest from family farms and commercial farms that call us when they have crops that can’t be picked for market, or when they have leftovers that are still viable, as well as home gardens and orchards when the owners contact us. We have a team that looks for these opportunities, and have created a database that is being used by many harvest groups here on the west coast. We asked that volunteers donate half their harvest to the food bank (through us), and they can keep up to half for themselves. Last year we donated more than 160,000 lbs of food to the area food banks. Plus we had the fun of harvesting food for our families, and often preserving it too. My children and grandchildren have learned where food really comes from, and also how important it is to help their neighbors in need. It’s a win/win situation all around. There are pictures on our website, and you can see my grandson harvesting onions last year!

  19. Joan says:

    Love this Diana. I am truly inspired to ask my neighbors about their forgotten bounty! Thanks for the push. I have asked for quince in the past and received it in spades!

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