DIY Fruit Harvest

Interested in harvesting and donating fruit from your tree?

Here are four easy steps plus tips to help you Share the Abundance™.

1. Connect with us!

Register your fruit tree or contact staff

If you haven’t already, register your fruit tree with Food Forward. It only takes a couple minutes, and you will be put in contact with one of our harvest coordinators who can support you along the way. If you’ve donated your fruit to us in the past, reach out to let us know you plan to harvest your fruit before you do so (5-7 days notice gives us time to find a home for the fruit so it arrives at one of our partner hunger relief organizations as fresh as possible). Email [email protected] or call 818-850-2750 (Los Angeles County), 805-380-5169 (Ventura County).

2. Gather equipment (optional)

from your home or one of our equipment hubs

Any small to medium sized clean bags or boxes work to transport the fruit to our partner hunger relief organization, and often your hands are the only tools you need. If you decide you would like to borrow additional equipment or boxes for your harvest, we have equipment hub locations in North Hollywood, San Marino, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, and Camarillo that you can pick up materials from. Contact Backyard Harvest staff at the numbers above to receive additional information required to gain access to the equipment.

Food Forward staff will contact a partner hunger relief organization in your neighborhood to arrange for you to drop off the bounty after your harvest. It is crucial that we make these arrangements prior to harvesting the fruit.

Review the tips below, and harvest away! When you’ve finished with the harvest, send Food Forward staff a photo of the fruit you collected so we can update our records and send a donation receipt. Then drop off the fruit!

Harvesting Tips

When to harvest fruit from your tree:
Fruit is ripe when it feels heavy for its size and has a pleasant aroma. Please do not harvest fruit that is hard and unripe—a taste test is the best way to tell if the fruit is ripe. If the fruit is not sweet and juicy, leave it on your tree for a few more weeks, and then give it another taste.

How to harvest:
Use your hands and harvest what you can reach. If you have a picker pole or hand pruner, please feel free to use them. Place the harvested fruit in any boxes or bags you have around your house! For more information on how to harvest specific types of fruit, check out our fruit harvesting profiles resource.

Prevent the spread of Citrus Greening Disease:
Please be sure to remove any leaves or stems before sharing. Leaves and stems may carry the Asian Citrus Psyllid, a vector responsible for the spread of Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening Disease).  For more information, please visit this website.

What to share:
Only share fruit you would want to eat. Ripe, undamaged fruit is key. Do not share unripe or green fruit (citrus does not ripen off of the tree), fruit with broken skin or rot, or fruit that has been on the ground.

Hands picking mandarin oranges

“Food Forward encourages people to come from this wonderful place of caring and making a difference.” – Shirley, Backyard Fruit Donor