On Sunday, April 21, 2013, with spring in the air and trees full of fruit, the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, a grassroots organization that seeks out residents willing to share their surplus fruit, harvested at approximately ten residences on the Westside of Santa Cruz. The group of over a dozen, which included both first-time pickers as well as seasoned veterans, gathered at the entrance to Neary Lagoon on California St. before splitting into teams.
Ron and Karen, local homeowners, have lived in the same location on the Westside for thirty years. Twenty years ago, they planted an orange tree in their front yard. Ron said that this year’s crop of oranges was the most tasty and abundant in the tree’s lifetime. After eating and sharing all the oranges that he and his family were able, Ron asked the Fruit Tree Project to remove all the oranges they could to enhance the tree’s vitality. Ron also participated with the group.
As with the citrus harvest in Seabright on March 23, Sunday’s yield was bountiful. The lemons were split among those who wanted them, and people took as many oranges as they could handle, mostly by bicycle. Oranges that were not claimed were donated to the Western Service Workers Association for distribution to people struggling with issues of poverty and food security. Fruit was also set aside to be processed into marmalade as gifts for the residents who shared their citrus.
For more information on the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, please visit FruitCruz.org.