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Food Storage Tips: Finding fruit with April

In my post about how to get food storage when you can’t afford it, I mentioned preserving fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Many yards, especially in older neighborhoods, have fruit trees with fruit that go to waste because it is never picked. Many of us would like to preserve fruit, but either don’t have fruit trees, or our fruit trees are too young to bear fruit. Is there a way to make a connection between unwanted fruit and people who want to preserve it?

My friend April has been successful with this. She preserves a lot of fruit, but her trees are young. She gets the fruit in a couple of ways:

Barter. April knows how to prune fruit trees. April prunes fruit trees of people in our ward in the spring for a share of the fruit in the fall.

Generosity. April is a naturally giving person who is always looking for ways to help others. Others are happy to help her in return when they can.

Boldness. April also keeps her eyes open when she is going through neighborhoods with fruit trees. If it looks like no one is picking the fruit and it is starting to go to waste, she will go up to the door, ask if they are not using the fruit this year, and if she might be able to pick it.

When she first told me this, I was surprised at how bold it was. I am shy. I am also worried about what other people would think. Still, I do like to save money, as long as it’s not at the expense of others. Fruit is increasingly expensive, and it is a shame for good fruit to go to waste.

So I decided to try it this summer. While visiting California family, I noticed ripe apricots falling into my parents’ yard from the tree next door. I gathered up my courage to ask my parents’ neighbor if we could pick the fruit. She was happy for me to do so. She confessed that she disliked apricots, and that they went to waste every year. She was happy for me to pick them and save her the mess of cleaning the fallen fruit later. And I got a year’s worth of apricot fruit roll-ups out of the deal.

When I got back home to Utah, I decided to see if I could find more fruit. I decided to call April so we could do this together. That way I could see exactly how she does it.

We all loaded into April’s van. She had prepared by bringing boxes, buckets, ladders, gloves, and drinks. My daughter loaded in the van with April’s four young children.

I told her about where I saw some pear trees. We found that house. April asked, “Do you want to go the door here?” I agreed to do so.

April coached me about how she usually asks: “I go to them with a big smile, and just say, ‘I noticed your pear tree, and I was wondering if there might be any chance that you aren’t going to use your pears this year? And if not, if you might let us take some?’

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