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Fruit trees in peoples' backyards

  1. Jul 6, 2011 #1
    I have observed that increasing numbers of Americans seem ashamed of picking fruits from their fruit trees. Eventually all the peaches, apples, apricots, and other fruits fall to the ground. These fruits are delicious!!!! But they go waste. This happens every year, year after year. People almost seem ashamed of using fruits from their fruit trees, whether the fruit has fallen to the ground or on the tree. They let the fruits rot and buy fruit from the grocery stores instead. As an Indian (Native American), this behavior is unfathomable and extremely puzzling to me. Not one of the people who live down my street uses fruit from their fruit trees. This is not just in my town but in other towns as well.

    (There were other behaviors that I didn't understand initially but I think I have come to understand them now. For instance, rural pickup driving people deliberately hit deer crossing the roads with their trucks and leave good meat behind but they go hunting and skin deer carcasses elaborately to use the meat or to make jerky, or instead of planting vegetables people spend enormous sums of money on maintaining useless lawns).

    But I have yet to understand why people seem ashamed to use fruit from their fruit trees. Is this a status symbol?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2011
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  3. Jul 6, 2011 #2
    I don't understand it myself. I don't have fruit tress currently, but if I did grow them, it would be for the fruit. My spouse and I put a garden in each summer and either use or give away what it produces.

    Mayhaps some people are too attached to getting food from the grocery stores. I know some people that the thought of eating something that doesn't come a store is appallingly to them.
  4. Jul 6, 2011 #3
    I don't observe this to be true at all here in Southern California. The many people who have citrus fruit trees not only eat the fruit themselves, they give it to neighbors, or take it to the swap meet and sell it.

    When I lived in NH it was a somewhat different story. So many people had apple trees that there was a surfeit of apples when they all came ripe in the fall. It could be hard to find someone who didn't already have enough apples for their needs.

    My grandmother had a cherry tree and a plum tree, which were a bit unusual for NH. She had to go to great length to keep people from stealing the fruit.

    So, I think the answer may possibly be that there's a surfeit of fruit where you live.
  5. Jul 6, 2011 #4

    Ben Niehoff

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    I totally agree with you. My gf's sister used to have a cherry tree, I think we took home 3 lbs of cherries when we went to visit once. I wish we had a yard where we could grow fruit.

    I think Americans have a bit of obsession with "packaging". This may be related to the "roboticism" that is being discussed in another thread. The point is that people seem to be afraid to consume something that isn't "done properly". I see that this extends through all kinds of goods, not just foods.

    For foods, it means that people seem to think that all foods must come in a package. Fresh produce had better be put in plastic bags. Meat had better be on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in shrinkwrap. Everything must be shiny and homogenous, with idealized shapes and colors. Any piece of fruit that doesn't have the expected size and shape, anything not safely packaged inside non-porous material, anything with bruises or mottled color, is regarded as somehow untrustworthy. In fact, it's even better if you avoid dealing with these fresh ingredients and just get something pre-made. If you try to cook for yourself you might do it wrong.

    I guarantee you those people with fruit trees in their yards are thinking that their own fruit is somehow unsafe to eat (even though the fruit at the grocery is probably less flavorful and doused in toxic chemicals).

    An extension of this attitude that I seem to observe everywhere is the idea that everything should be "left to professionals". Don't try to fix your own sink or change your own oil...better leave it to professionals. A big one that irks me is that people hardly ever entertain themselves anymore. For example, hardly anyone sits down and makes their own music. You have to leave that to professionals. Buy CDs, go to shows, go and consume! But don't sing unless you're drunk and you want to laugh at how bad you are; you're not a pro.

    As for me, I pick fruits off trees and eat them. And if a buy an onion at the grocery, I don't put it in a plastic bag, that's ridiculous.
  6. Jul 6, 2011 #5


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    That reminds me of a time I didn't put some produce in a plastic bag and the cashier looked at me as if I was insane and she didn't seem to want to touch it either. I guess not being in plastic meant it wasn't *clean*. It was going to be peeled and cooked before being eaten anyway.
  7. Jul 6, 2011 #6
    Eat something that grows in my yard? But there is dirt and bugs and all sorts of things out there!

    At least that is the mentality that I believe contributes towards this phenomenon. It's as if people believe that the grocer ships in fruits from a sterile growing environment.
  8. Jul 6, 2011 #7
    I have asked people and they don't have reservations about the "safety" aspects of eating what is produced by their own trees. In fact they believe what is grown in their gardens is organic, free of chemicals and therefore better and safer than what is available in stores.

    My initial hypothesis for non-consumption was "fatigue." I have also asked people about the "fatigue" aspect. That's not the reason either. So it's not that they have consumed so many fruits that they are fatigued by the consumption.

    For some reason, people are not able to express their real reason for non-consumption.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2011
  9. Jul 6, 2011 #8
    What a strange coincidence. Tonight my wife and I went for a stroll along the Delaware River in Burlington. There's an apple tree there that gives fruit some years but not others. Tonight we saw easily 2,000 or more apples on it. They are still small, about 2" in diameter, but quite sweet. I took a half dozen.
  10. Jul 6, 2011 #9


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    I have a key lime tree planted (this last winter claimed most of it) and a small orange tree that is still potted. I used every last lime off my tree and will do the same with the oranges, whenever it will produce. If I had more property, I'd have more fruit trees.

    My neighbor has a nectarine tree that is currently producing (and I have fresh preserves in the pantry), a lemon tree, granny smith apple tree, and another that I think is a pear. They either eat, make preserves, or give away all the fruit that their trees produce.

    I work with and have relatives with orange and lemon trees. All of them pick and eat the fruit that is produced.

    I've never run across anyone like those that you mention, but if I do I'll be more than happy to take the fruit off their hands.
  11. Jul 7, 2011 #10
    Could it be that fruit from a supermarket is so cheap that people can't be bothered to exert their energy to collect fruit from trees?
  12. Jul 11, 2011 #11


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    I planted a peach tree several years ago. This year, it flowered well, and has set on dozens of peaches. The cost of that little sapling will be well-paid-off if the peaches all ripen so I can pick them vs buying peaches in a store. The cherry and plum trees are still a bit immature and have not set on fruit, but the blueberry bushes are doing quite well, though they are still small. I set out a 5-gallon bucket of raspberry root-stock about 5 years ago, and this year, I had to cut through that thicket and give away a lot of rooted canes so that we can get in there to pick all the berries. There is no way that fruits and berries at the supermarket can ever compete in quality of price with ones that you grow yourself. We end up processing and freezing most of our apples because as mentioned above, there are a LOT of apple trees around here. We may have a few spots and defects on our apples, but NO pesticides, herbicides, etc. That's worth something.
  13. Jul 11, 2011 #12


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    BTW, if you want to control pests on your apple trees, there is a simple, safe method for doing so. When the tree has lost its leaves in the fall and is dormant, spray it with canola oil/water from a hose-end sprayer. The oil gets into crevices in the bark and smothers eggs/larvae of destructive pests. I don't spray again until after the petals are off the blossoms next spring, to avoid gumming up my pollinators, and that's the only treatment that the trees need, apart from pruning.
  14. Jul 11, 2011 #13
    I remember learning that if mushrooms are picked within x feet from a street/road they shouldn't be eaten because of heavy metals. I don't know if the same applies to fruit trees.
  15. Jul 11, 2011 #14


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    We have a grapefruit tree that we never eat off of.

    Because grapefruits suck.
  16. Jul 11, 2011 #15
    I love grapefruit.
  17. Jul 11, 2011 #16


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    Me too, and I never dump sugar on it.
  18. Jul 11, 2011 #17
    Me neither. Straight up. Damn, now I really want some.
  19. Jul 11, 2011 #18


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    I come from Texas, so Texas Ruby Red for me.
  20. Jul 11, 2011 #19


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    Whenever I have a hankering for grapefruit (which is never), I satisfy myself with the knowledge that there are plenty of copper pipes in my house I could lick to get the same taste.
  21. Jul 11, 2011 #20
    I actually kind of like it. Whenever I'm out, I never go hungry. Just walk into a residential area. There's SOME fruit tree that's hanging over a fence or in the front yard. Usually oranges.

    No one notices me stealing their fruit, and I don't feel bad because it's going to waste anyway...
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