Trees throughout the community are laden with fruit this summer. The Zero Waste Team offers suggestions on what to do with excess fruit. Courtesy photo
ZERO WASTE TEAM NEWS
Fruit abounds in Los Alamos County this summer! Both White Rock and Los Alamos have trees loaded with cherries, apricots, and plums—and soon the peaches, pears, and apples will be coming in. For apricots, not only has it been a super-abundant year, but the first year in many that we’ve had apricots at all!
Many residents with fruit trees cannot use it all. Some don’t even pick any—they’re just too busy, don’t care for fruit, it’s too much trouble, they physically can’t harvest, the house is unoccupied, or owners are away. But there are people who don’t have trees who would love to have the excess!
For those of us who want to waste as little as possible, how do we match all that excess fruit to those who want it?
Eat it! Share it! Preserve it! Donate it! Compost it! Freeze, can, or dry it to enjoy all year. Tell your friends and neighbors to come pick. Take fruit or fruit desserts to work or meetings, or donate it to civic or nonprofit organizations to share.
If you are looking for fruit, ask! If you see a tree that has fruit, knock on the door and ask the owner. Most will say you’re welcome to pick, but some do not, so NEVER pick without obtaining permission.
If you have fruit you would allow people to pick, here are some considerations before you spread the word:
Can anyone come any time and pick? Do you care if people come into your yard? For trees in the front yard or by the street, you may allow anyone to come pick anytime. If trees are in your back or side yards, for your privacy you may want people to contact you first (or you may not want to allow this at all).
To invite people to come pick, you can:
- Put a sign in your yard.
- Tell your friends and neighbors.
- Post online: Freecycle, NextDoor, Olio app, or Facebook groups: Buy Nothing Los Alamos, Zero Waste Los Alamos, Los Alamos Online Yard Sale, White Rock NM Online Yardsale, Los Alamos/White Rock Online Yardsale. If you don’t use social media, ask a friend to post for you. If you want pickers to contact you for your address or time, have them send you a private message.
- Try the OLIO food sharing app.
If you want to donate fruit: You can get cardboard “flats” from Smith’s to put just one layer of fruit, so soft fruits are not crushed. Note that most places will take fresh fruit but not canned or frozen preserves.
- LA Cares Food Bank takes local fruit if it is ripe when they distribute food. Because of limited storage and refrigeration space, they can’t store fruit except apples from month to month.
- Second Friday of the month and the Thursday before it
- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, LA
- 505-661-8015 (call for times)
- The Food Depot truck distributes food monthly in LA. They welcome local fruit for local distribution. The Food Depot headquarters in Santa Fe will also receive any fruit during open hours.
- Every 4th Friday
- First United Methodist Church, LA
- 505-471-1633 (SF Food Depot headquarters)
- The Senior Centers—the White Rock Senior Center has a great snack area for fruit and treats. The Betty Ehart Senior Center in Los Alamos Day Out program will take fruit also. What they don’t use in making preserves, they put on the “free” table there.
- WR: 10:00-4:00 M-F, 10:00-1:00 Sat., 505-672-2034
- LA-BESC: 8:30-4:30 M-F, 10:00-1:00 Sat., 505-662-8920
- LA Day Out program: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F, 505-661-0081
- The youth centers also will take fresh fruit for the kids! Leftovers can be taken home.
- Los Alamos Teen Center (Community Building in LA): noon-8:00 M-F; 1:00-8:00 Sat
- LA Youth Activity Center (basement of Community Building): 3:00-6:00 M,T,Th, Fri; noon-6:00 Wed
- WR Youth Activity Center (beside library): 3:00-6:00 M,T,Th,Fri; noon-6:00 Wed
- The New Mexico Wildlife Center will take fruit that has not been sprayed recently. Call first to check current needs.
- 19 Wheat Street, Espanola
- Haley or Hilary, 505.753.9505
If you want to preserve fruit, the Los Alamos County Extension Service is offering a Dehydrating Foods workshop for meat, veggies, and fruit Aug. 22 at the United Church. Call to reserve a spot. Also, if your organization would like Desaree Jimenez, the Extension home economist, to do a workshop, call her to see if a date and place can be arranged. (505.662.2656)
And finally, you can compost excess or too-ripe fruit (except pits from peaches or apricots). LA County Environmental Services has an excellent brochure on how to compost at home available on their website, losalamosnm.us/gogreen.
If anyone has other suggestions for sharing excess fruit, contact the ZeroWaste Team at email@example.com.