When we harvest fruit, we have 3 main rules:
- Be Safe – It’s just fruit*
- Be Respectful – Take care of the trees and property
- Have Fun – Enjoy the abundance!
The general flow of the harvest is:
- Sample the fruit
- Clean up fallen fruit
- Clean up site
- Weigh in
- Divvy up the take
- Go home and enjoy the fruit
More details for each section are below:
#1 Sample the fruit
The first thing we encourage you to do is to sample the fruit, so you know the quality and taste of what we’re harvesting. This isn’t advised for pears, quince, and other fruit that need to ripen off the tree or be processed.
#2 Clean up fallen fruit
This serves a number of purposes. It makes a nicer and safer working environment, it thanks the homeowner, and lets us know that fruit that ends up on the ground while we’re harvesting has just fallen. We remove and compost fallen and damaged fruit.
This is the bulk of the time and the most fun. Harvest Leaders will often provide ladders and pickers, or communicate with volunteers to bring necessary equipment. Make sure to follow the three rules while harvesting: Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Have Fun.
#4 Clean up site
We like to leave the site looking better than we found it. We are guests on other people’s property and we want to be asked back to harvest next year. We return anything that was borrowed, put everything back how we found it, and leave the harvest area cleaner than when we arrived.
#5 Weigh in
This is where we see how much we harvested. We’re usually amazed at the quantity of fruit!
#6 Divvy up the take
25% of the harvest is divided among the volunteers. There is usually plenty of fruit to go around and volunteers are encouraged to take home as much as they can use. 25% of the harvest is offered to the home or landowner or tenant (don’t forget to thank them for letting us harvest!). 25% is donated to local hunger relief organizations such as The Food Bank, Food Angels, Gospel Mission or others. The remaining 25% goes to the organizers of Neighborhood Harvest , or is sold or traded to otherwise support the continued work of the organization.
#7 Go home and enjoy the fruit
Tell your friends and send us feedback on your experience!
*A note on safety and liability: The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was passed into law in 1996 and protects property owners from being held responsible for injuries. It states in part: (d) Collection or gleaning of donations
A person who allows the collection or gleaning of donations on property owned or occupied by the person by gleaners, or paid or unpaid representatives of a nonprofit organization, for ultimate distribution to needy individuals shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability that arises due to the injury or death of the gleaner or representative
Sec. 1791. Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act