Let’s be clear. While I love and admire the movement, I am NOT a Portland new-age, city-type, backyard gardener. Even though I’m not on a farm right now, I still consider myself to be an honest-to-goodness real-time farmer. So it’s hard for me to comprehend fruit tree ownership. In the country if it looks like someone isn’t going to pick their apples, you pick them. Anyone is allowed to pick blackberries or wild cherries along the roadside. If a neighbor is on vacation, you get all their strawberries and raspberries you can fit in your apron. I’m finding the 6-ft cedar and chain-link fences in my new neighborhood a little… problematic. For instance, my backyard neighbors have GORGEOUS apple and pear trees. With enormous piles of lovely and ripe fruit sitting under them.
So what’s the convention, city-folk? I know some of them, but how rude is it to knock on their door and ask if they are using their 187 dropped Galas? I don’t care if they’re wormy or bruised. They will make a fantastic apple pie! Would you let someone pick up old apples or tomatoes if they asked?
My son staked out two neighborhood blackberry bushes within three days of moving here. If I didn’t take our walk down those roads, he would take a little walk on his own. There is an enormous rosemary bush hanging at least a foot into the sidewalk next to the convenience store. Technically… someone’s yard, but I’m not even sure someone lives there! Allowed or not allowed?
I’ll confess something to you – the first of many, I’m sure. Every time we walk past the big gingerbread house on the corner, I swipe 8-10 of their Gravenstein drops. I’ve made three amazing batches of stolen applesauce. They haven’t caught me, but I did hear a little rustling when the kids and I started picking their Niagra grapes. Here’s my plea to the people of the cities – or anywhere for that matter – PLEASE pick up your non-used fruit, place it in a box, write on that box the word “FREE” and place it on the sidewalk. Someone wants it. Homeless people, poor people, people who like applesauce. Don’t be a rotten fruit hoarder. Also, don’t create yellow jacket colonies for my kids to get stung from.