Home Harvesting: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions from homeowners and property owners; please contact us with additional questions or suggestions.

  1. What kind of fruit or produce is accepted by Village Harvest and the Drop-Off Locations?
  2. I have an citrus/apple/persimmon tree that's higher than I can reach. I don't have a ladder or can't get up on a ladder to harvest the fruit. Are there other ways to harvest the fruit?
  3. My plums are falling and making a huge mess. Is there a method to get the plums down quickly and easily?
  4. As a homeowner and donor of fruit to nonprofit organizations, am I legally liable for any injury of harvesters on my property?  Liable for anything that may happen as a result of people eating fruit from my tree?
  5. I understand my donated fruit is considered a tax-deductible contribution.  How do I determine the value of the donation for tax purposes?
  6. Why are our oranges sour?

 

  1. What kind of fruit or produce is accepted by Village Harvest and the Drop-Off Locations?

    A: Most types of produce or fruit are gratefully accepted. Here are some suggestions that help to make the most of your donation.

    • Pack produce in boxes, not bags, prevents produce from damage in distribution.
    • Consider that produce donations often need to last several days without refrigeration before being consumed. Items such as lettuce and figs are generally too perishable. Items such as plums, apricots and persimmons must be harvested and dropped off while still hard.  Soft, ripe fruit while delicious is too fragile to last.
    • Identify unusual fruit or produce.
  2. I have an citrus/apple/persimmon tree that's higher than I can reach. I don't have a ladder or can't get up on a ladder to harvest the fruit. Are there other ways to harvest the fruit?

    A: One of the tools that our Village Harvest volunteers wouldn't be without is an extension fruit picker. These fruit pickers on fiberglass poles are lightweight and can be used to harvest up to 20' without getting on a ladder. These extension fruit pickers can be purchased from many hardware and garden shops.  See our resources page for more ladder-less fruit harvesting techniques.

  3. My plums are falling and making a huge mess. Is there a method to get the plums down quickly and easily?

    A: The harvesting technique that Village Harvest volunteers have started to use is quick, doesn't require a ladder and is prefect for high trees. With several of your family or friends, stretch a tarp or sheet under the tree making sure that it doesn't touch the ground. Gently shake the branch above the tarp. The plums will fall to into the canopy typically without being bruised. When the canopy is full or heavy enough, scoop the plums into boxes and carry them away. Note that if the fruit hasn't been thinned, you will get a variety of ripeness that falls. The unripe fruit would be falling anyway due to having too much competition for space on the branch. Do this several times during the plums season and you'll have harvested nearly all the plums without getting on a ladder once! This method can also be used on apricots.  See our resources page for information on how to build your own tree shaker and more ladder-less fruit harvesting techniques.

  4. As a homeowner and donor of fruit to nonprofit organizations, am I legally liable for any injury of harvesters on my property?  Liable for anything that may happen as a result of people eating fruit from my tree?

    A:  Generally no, provided there is no gross negligence or intentional misconduct.  There is a federal Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and California Code Section 58501-58509 to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals.  The provisions waive donors of their liability for injuries by gleaners/harvesters in the process of collecting the food (except for gross negligence or intentional misconduct), and for providing "apparently wholesome food."

  5. I understand my donated fruit is considered a tax-deductible contribution.  How do I determine the value of the donation for tax purposes?

    A:  Just as with other non-cash donations, such as donating clothing or other items nonprofit organizations, the donor is responsible for determining the value.  IRS Publication 526 on Charitable Contributions suggests general guidelines in determining the "fair market value" of donated property.

  6. Why are our oranges sour?

    A:  Except for Washington Navel Oranges, the SF Bay Area really doesn't get enough heat units for many oranges and grapefruit to become very sweet.  However, they are still very nutritious and packed with Vitamin C.  If you're not interested in eating them, then please consider making them available to the hungry.  They are not averse to adding a little sugar if needed.