Thursday, February 3, 2011

Citrus Collection in Southern Arizona

As we were driving down a busy street in Phoenix, I thought “Wow there are a lot of citrus trees here”. The entire street was lined with trees just full of grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. And it seemed like no one was bothering to pick them up.

People will go to the grocery store and buy a bag of oranges but won’t collect the fruit from their own garden or neighborhood? What are the excuses for that?
“It is too time-consuming?” It might take a few minutes, half an hour max, and you get bags of FREE fresh, organic, produce.
“I am embarrassed to collect fruit if it is not on my property.” If it looks like no one is collecting the fruit, you could check with the owner and see if they would agree.
“It’s too complicated to make juice; it’s easier to go buy a bottle at the store.” If you get yourself a $5.00 juicer, it takes a grand total of two minutes to make a large glass of fresh juice.

A few days after thinking about those un-harvested citrus trees in Phoenix, I heard on the local news that a food bank had organized a fruit donation, where people could drop off their excess citrus to various locations.

Get this, TWO MILLION pounds of fruit were collected in 2009!
Talk about eco-logic.

Here is the link to the fruit donation efforts in Phoenix:

My smart husband just did the math. If you need 20 pounds of fruit for every gallon of juice, Phoenix collected 100,000 gallons of juice. That’s 12,800,000 ounces of juice or enough so that the 2 million people in Phoenix all get a 6oz glass of juice! And that is just the amount that was brought in, I am sure there was still a lot more to collect.

So then last week we visited our family in Tucson. My sister in law gave us a huge bag of small oranges from a friend of hers. Then, when we went over to my brother-in-law’s house, I noticed that they had a large grapefruit and two small lemon trees in their backyard. “Can I pick some grapefruit?” I asked, “Sure, we don’t really eat them.”

Eight giant bags later, I was happy with my bountiful harvest. Even after giving a bunch of grapefruit away, I had enough to make over a gallon of juice! I haven’t squeezed the oranges or lemons yet but it should make quite a lot as well.

Talk about good eco-logics. All that good organic, local food for free!


  1. Most citrus is not organic. They need fertilizer to grow. Sorry

  2. That's true, good point. Although local, not all the citrus collected in Phoenix should automatically be labelled as organic. Hopefully, if people have citrus trees in their backyard they don't dump a bunch of nasty chemical fertilizer, manure or other organic fetilizers would be better alternatives.