The Great Fruit Distribution: City Fruit’s Processes

18 Aug 2021, by Admin in City Fruit

Kaitlyn Ganrude serves as a Summer Associate VISTA at City Fruit in Seattle, WA. City Fruit harvests and gleans thousands of pounds of fruit each year from Seattle’s public and private orchards, and distributes it to local food banks, food programs, restaurants, bakeries, and farmers markets to create a more sustainable and equitable food system. The City Fruit team “helps tree owners grow healthy fruit, provides assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, promotes the sharing of extra fruit, and works to protect urban fruit trees.” In her VISTA role this summer, Kaitlyn served as a harvester to help City Fruit glean as much fruit as possible, and also as a community and small business liaison, forming relationships with local restaurants and bakeries for distribution purposes.

Summer Associate Harvest VISTA Kaitlyn Ganrude and a fresh harvest at a Fruit for All. TOP, left to right: Fruit Tree Specialist and Harvest Manager Julian Garcia, Summer Associate Harvest VISTA Ife Asabi (read more about Ife’s work with City Fruit here), Kaitlyn, and UW Intern Harvester Matt Condrin.

As the only organization stewarding Seattle’s public and private fruit tree orchards, City Fruit constantly harvests fruit all summer long and into early fall. The organization relies on many community partners to get all of this harvested fruit into the hands, and mouths, of the greater Seattle area. That requires a lot of form processing, phone calls, sorting, and emails, but it is all worthwhile to see fresh, hyperlocal, nutritious produce get to those who need it the most. City Fruit mostly distributes to a few main food banks and restaurants/bakeries, as well as through a radical community outreach-food redistribution-hybrid strategy called a Fruit for All.

Distribution through a Fruit For All is one of the best (and most fun) ways to distribute fruit and interact with community members. This year, City Fruit has 16 Fruit For Alls scheduled at various locations in the Seattle region. At these events, a City Fruit employee takes multiple crates of fruit harvested during the week to a location, sets up a table, and hands fruit out to community members for a couple hours. The fruit is completely free, local, and organic! This a great way to get nutritious food into the community and spread the word about what City Fruit does.

City Fruit also donates a generous portion of fruit to Food Banks. One of City Fruits main partners is FareStart. FareStart is an organization that helps “people overcome barriers by teaching work and life skills needed to succeed in employment and in life.” They accept a great deal of fruit that is not quite at eating standard and process it, typically taking apples and making them into applesauce. Without FareStart, City Fruit would have a lot of leftover apples needing to be processed. City Fruit also distributes fruit to food banks for immediate distribution, as well as to organizations such as Refugee Women’s Alliance, Operation Sack Lunch, Asian Counsel Referral Services, and other organizations. 

Lastly, City Fruit partners with a few local restaurants, selling fruit to them at a greatly discounted rate. The team is currently working on expanding local business partnerships, so team members have been reaching out to local restaurants, bakeries, and even Instagram bakers in the area. City Fruit hopes to expand their reach within the coming years to get more fruit to local organizations!