Summer means fruit season is in full bloom for the Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP), a non-profit that gathers volunteers to harvest peaches, plums, pears, figs, apples, and more from registered trees across the city. PTFP salvages fruit that would otherwise go to waste, donating half to Portland food banks and dividing the rest among “harvest party” volunteers. PFTP channeled over 58,000 pounds of fruit to families in need last year.
During a recent harvest party, an enthusiastic team of volunteers, young and old, plucked plums from two Southeast Portland sites. First, they collected 379 pounds of bright yellow Shiro plums from a majestic tree in Brentwood-Darlington’s Green Thumb Community Orchard – and with over half of the fruit left on the prolific tree, another team will be back soon!
The team then traveled to Carmen Piekarski’s home to gather 86 pounds of juicy purplish-red cherry plums from her two trees towering over the sidewalk. “I come from a family where things were never wasted, and to watch anything go to waste is really difficult,” Carmen said. “There’s too much for us and too much for the neighbors, and the Portland Fruit Tree Project allows people who are truly in need to access healthy fruit.”
With 465 pounds of plums in tow at the end of the evening, each volunteer took home a generous 12 pounds and the remaining 235 pounds went to area food pantries. PFTP hosts several harvest parties a week and provides additional opportunities to get involved and learn new skills from tree care to food preservation. Don’t miss out…it’s summertime and the time is ripe for sharing the harvest.