Farmers make great friends. Get to know the farmers in your area, and they may allow you to glean from their fields or orchards after they've finished harvesting. The typical commercial harvest can leave bushels and bushels of food behind – that's a lot of free fruit for a few hours of work.
Did You Know? Farmers used to leave the corners of their fields unharvested for gleaning.
Grapes, boysenberries and blueberries are just a few of the fruits that you can find growing in the wild. Take a foraging class to brush up on your identification skills. Then, hit the trails in pursuit of free fruit.
Keep in Mind: Picking fruit from private property without permission isn't foraging – it's stealing. Always ask before you pick.
Grow Your Own Fruit from Cuttings
Blackberries, raspberries and many other berries are easy to start from root cuttings. Find a friend that's growing what you want to grow; then, ask for a cutting. Before long you'll have all the free berries that you can eat.
Grow Your Own Fruit Trees from Seeds
Some fruit trees are easy to grow from seed (namely pitted fruits like peaches, apricots and nectarines). So, if you eat a piece of fruit that's particularly tasty; be sure to save the pit. Once it's had some time to dry, you can crack it open, and harvest the seeds.
Note: Many seeds are patented. Stay on the right side of the law by saving unpatented seeds only.
Have lots of apples, but want pears? Find someone who's willing to trade some of their bounty for some of yours.
No fruit to trade? Then, find something else that you can barter instead – mending services, help with weeding, an oil change, etc.
Post an Ad
Lots of people have fruit trees in their yard and absolutely no interest in harvesting the fruit. Post an ad on Freecycle or Craigslist offering to pick the fruit and clean up all the overripe free falls, and you may be surprised at how many takers you get.
Tip: If you plan to use the fruit to make jam or other home-canned goodies, offer to give the owner of the fruit half of everything that you make. Now, who could refuse a deal like that?
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