Local group the Urban Fruit Collective (UFC) has provided us with a report about last autumn’s harvesting activities. The group picks fruit for local people who are unable to do so themselves, and shares the harvest with them and local groups.
The harvesting season kicked off again in September, and saw Urban Fruit Collective volunteers kitted out with new picking poles and extra ladders to tackle their busiest season yet. The number of picking requests doubled this year, and the trees we picked from were dripping in fruit; there is a good selection of apple varieties growing in the Earlsdon area, ranging from James Grieve to Bramley and some unique varieties, apparently planted many years ago by children burying apple cores!
The group grade the apples; eating apples and pears are destined for the Coventry foodbank’s various outlets in the city, while cookers are made available for local residents to collect. Bruised fruit goes under Miss Ellie’s kitchen knife, and is transformed into the most delicious chutneys. If you were lucky enough to buy a jar of Earlsdon Apple Chutney recently, this was made from our windfalls. It not only made lovely Christmas dinner pickles (with no carbon footprint); a donation for each jar sold also benefited breast cancer research.
This coming year, the UFC is hoping to find spaces for micro-orchards. The spaces need to be accessible, and large enough for 3 or 4 trees to be planted together. The group is also looking for its very own apple cart to deploy on Earlsdon Street outside shops willing to host it. It will be filled up with apples after each harvest, to which local residents can help themselves for free. The group is really hoping that, lurking in the back of a garage somewhere in the ECHO area, is an unwanted wheelbarrow that can be converted into our portable distribution point. Can you help with a space, a wheelbarrow or the time to convert it?