The Underground Fruit Economy: Fresh Fruit, via Your Neighbors


Have you ever seen a neighbor's fruit left unharvested, all those fruit wasted? Think there's a better way? Though neighbors trading apples for plums isn't exactly new phenomenon, the Internet is changing the way and fueling growth in the "underground economy" of trading fruit.

Kim Severson of The New York Times has an interesting article about this trend:

All over the country, the underground fruit economy is growing. At new Web sites like and, fruit seekers can find public mulberry patches in Pennsylvania and neighbors willing to trade blackberries in Oklahoma.

In Royal Oak, Mich., a woman investigated how to start a fruit exchange modeled after Fallen Fruit (, an arts group that designs maps of accessible fruit growing in Los Angeles neighborhoods.

In Alaska, cooks used Facebook to find willing donors of backyard rhubarb, the first dessert crop that grows after the long winter. In Columbia, S.C., university students pulled spare peaches from orchards and donated them to a local food bank.

Supporters of this movement hold two basic principles. One, it’s a shame to let fruit go to waste. And two, neighborhood fruit tastes best when it’s free.

Link - via squealingrat

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by squealingrat.

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Those apples may not taste very good - apples are pretty unique in that every seed produces a whole new variety of apple. Not many are very pleasant on the palate.
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I live on the edge of suburbia and half a block away is the industrial district. Almost every weekend the four of us ride our bikes through the parkings lot of these buildings, and late last summer we found a 20 foot apple tree. I'm not sure of the variety but given that the tree was right at the edge of the tarmac and overshadowed by a towering sycamore, it had an astounding amount of fruit. We just checked on it last weekend and it is already covered in tiny green apples. This season, we will be heading to that tree with Scout Poles: walking sticks 6-8' long with a simple cup hook screwed into one end. Most scouts can tell you that you use the hook to grab the stem just above the apple and yank. We will be stocking our Mason jars with homemade apple sauce this season!
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