Fruit Tree FAQ


Thinking about donating your produce but have some questions? Romaine calm—we’ve got answers.

Questions about donating fruit from your trees?

What types of fruit does the Backyard Harvest program accept?

We harvest nearly all fruit that grows in the Southern California region, yes, even lemons! The number one rule of thumb is that the fruit needs to be edible. Think of it this way: if you would not eat it because it is too sour, rotten, unripe or in otherwise bad shape, then we cannot donate it. At this time,  we do not coordinate volunteer-powered harvest of loquats or figs, but if you are interested in doing a DIY harvest of those varieties please let us know.

How quickly will you come to pick the fruit?

Food Forward is a volunteer-powered organization, which means the majority of our fruit harvests are led by volunteers. We do our best to get volunteers out to pick all of the properties that register with us but are unable to make any guarantees as to if, or when we will be able to do so. We often have many more properties to harvest than we have volunteer event leaders available. The best way to ensure your fruit does not go to waste is to do a DIY Pick.

Do you have to pick ALL of my fruit?

Nope! If you would like us to keep some of the low hanging fruit on the tree for you to eat, just let us know when we are scheduling the fruit pick.

I only have one tree. Is that enough for you to pick?

In most cases, absolutely! One fruit tree can yield up to 800 pounds! Our only requirement is that there should be enough fruit for 1 or more volunteers to harvest for at least 1.5 hours. If you have less fruit than that, you can pick it yourself to donate!

My tree is 30’ tall, can you get all of the fruit?

Our volunteers can harvest as much fruit as they can safely pick with a fruit picker and extension tool or hand pruner. We can typically harvest as high as 10-15 feet (or lower if the fruit needs to be hand clipped), so if your tree is above that height we will not be able to get all the fruit. Additionally, if your tree has a lot of dead wood or if there are electrical lines around the tree, we may not be able to harvest the fruit. We will do our best to get as much as we can and we always recommend pruning regularly for the health of your trees.

Are you interested in my extra garden produce?

Depending on how much extra produce you have, we may be able to harvest your garden. If you have a few spare fruits or veggies that you cannot eat, we can connect you with a local hunger relief agency so your homegrown bounty does not go to waste. Learn about picking and donating your own garden veggies here.

Are you insured?

Yes, we are fully insured and each fruit pick is led by a trained Volunteer Event Leader.

What do I get for my donation?

You receive a tax-deductible receipt the week following your harvest for your in-kind donation that details how many pounds you donated.

A ripe orange tree

Questions about fruit tree care? Check out some of the resources on our blog!