I have often wished there were ways to organize trading food with the neighbors. It bothers me to walk past, say, a persimmon tree covered with orange fruit that the neighbors are letting go to rot. It seems an awfully big waste. But as someone with frequently overproducing plants, I understand how wearying it can be to harvest every bit of fruit from the branches.
The NYTimes has an article on fruit swapping sites like Neighborhood Fruit and VeggieTrader. You can sign up and find other people in your area to swap fruit with. It’s a great idea, although I didn’t see anyone in my particular area. Still, it’s early in the season.
The article also talks about local food trading groups, for example one started by Asiya Wadud, pictured above, who set up a neighborhood fruit exchange called Forage Oakland. I like how the article makes the food trading sound exciting and a little naughty. For example:
“For cooks, like Samin Nosrat, a cook at the restaurant Eccolo in Berkeley, free fruit is like a little kitchen miracle. She sneaks grape leaves to wrap sardines. Once, she stumbled upon so many fallen green walnuts on a sidewalk that she piled a bunch into a blanket she retrieved from her car, and made nocino, a walnut liqueur.
Ms. Nosrat calls it opportunistic cooking, which she means in the best way.
“It’s cooking from nothing,” she said.”
ETA: I don’t think it is okay to sneak into people’s yards and steal from their trees. I figured that went without saying but since the article does mention some people doing that, I will add: Always ask first.