“Picking while it rains is generally ok – though you have to be more careful when the ladder is wet or the tree limbs are wet. If you can hear thunder close by or see lightning definitely cancel the pick immediately.” – NFFTT Coordinator

The forecast was stormy, but fortunately it was mostly sunny for my first pick with Not Far from the Tree (a few gray clouds lingered)! Part of the adventure was finding the equipment before I started my first pick. A colourful alleyway and a sunken gate led the way to the pickup site for the picking gear – a coordinator binder, weighing scale, and plastic bags for the tender berries.

There are a lot of details that go back and forth before a pick happens, and the instructions above were just part of it! If you haven’t heard of Not Far from the Tree, they’re doing great things in putting Toronto’s fruit to good use by helping homeowners harvest their unused fruit trees and picking and sharing the bounty. As a volunteer supreme gleaner my responsibilities are leading fruit picks across Parkdale/High Park, coordinating and orienting volunteers at each pick and transporting the fruit by bicycle to donation centres such as food banks, shelters and community kitchens.

My first pick was Serviceberries (pictured above)! They’re tasty little berries and if you’re out in western Canada, they’re very similar to Saskatoons. We only got a few pounds of berries, but it was a good start with a great group of volunteers. Heather even made her modest berry portion into some jam!

Here’s looking forward to more fruit picks throughout the season!