Local lifestyle columnists

Share nature’s bounty with others

By From page B10 | July 26, 2014

Nature is bountiful. It is a shame that much of its bounty is wasted.

I am the beneficiary of some of that bounty. Friends have given me some of the fruits, vegetables and other foods that have come from their gardens and trees. Excess produce that they aren’t able to use.

I have a weakness for fresh fruits and vegetables. And, I have to admit, I love freebies. I’m afraid I may come across as someone who will take anything if it’s free. That’s not true. It has to be edible. That’s probably a carry-over from my youth, when there were times the cupboard was bare.

What got me started on this topic? Grapefruit, plums, oranges, tomatoes, a few cherries and some rainbow trout – nature’s bounty from generous friends with big hearts. Lucky me.

But I am only one person.

The bigger picture is this: All over Solano County there are fruits that are not harvested and going to waste. For years I have driven by citrus trees full of fruit that later I have seen lying on the ground. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of willing eaters if the fruits and vegetables were harvested and accessible.

If you have fruit on trees in your yard that will spoil and fall to the ground, pick it and give it to friends; or to strangers, for that matter. Food banks and some churches would be happy to have it. Invite friends to a picking party. Don’t let God’s gifts go to waste.

When I first arrived in the area, Allan Witt was my barber. Yes, it’s the same Allan Witt who was mayor of Fairfield and for whom the park was named.

Aside from being entertained by Allan’s charm and stories, we became friends. Eventually, he told me about a Satsuma plum tree he had in his backyard. The Satsuma was an old, ugly variety, but very flavorful. My mom made great plum jam from Satsuma plums. I was interested. He invited me to pick as many as I could use. They were just going to waste, so I did. It was an excuse to visit with Allan, too. I picked Satsuma plums each year for four or five years, until Allan passed away.

There is another benefit from sharing bounty. The pleasure one gets from pleasing others. For many years my sweet wife and I would go to the “u-pick” orchards in Brentwood. We would pick peaches and apricots – a hundred or more pounds of beautiful fruit at a time.

Zella would freeze some of it, but most of it we would give to friends and neighbors. They loved it. The fresh fruit we picked from the trees was always better than the fruit you could buy at the market. Sharing is a wonderful experience.

I have mentioned before that Jim Mitz raises vegetables for the pleasure it gives others. He enjoys the giving.

So, if your trees or garden provide more bounty than you can use, harvest it and give it away. Others will love the gift and you will love giving.

Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or [email protected]

Murray Bass


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