More Bang for Your Buck: The simple way to find produce straight from the source
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Central Virginia is full of fruit-producing trees and bushes, but most of us don't know where they are and when the best time to look is.
From figs, to blackberries, walnuts and tomatoes, all of those and a bunch more grow well here in the Commonwealth and can be found growing if you know where to look.
"I'm used to foraging, a common practice in the woods," said Ethan Welty, who soon learned he could be quite successful foraging around the city. He started mapping his findings, which led to FallingFruit.org, a worldwide database of where free food grows.
"I'm getting all the fruit I need from the city," Ethan said. "I don't have to buy it anymore."
Central Virginia has more than 100 different places to look. One point on the map leads to an area just south of the Maury statue, where a mature fig tree is overhanging the sidewalk.
William Shearer has lived at the property for the past seven years.
"It's very popular," William remarked. "Lots of questions, 'Can I get figs,' and I'm like, 'Sure, help yourself. Whatever hangs over, if you can get to them, you're welcome to them.'"
Are you not sure exactly what to look for? The GPS on the app will lead to you right to the spot, helping us find a Black Walnut tree growing in the Lakeside community. The app also shows that the homeowner has granted previous foragers permission to take what they wanted.
"If people are looking, we've got things to give," Orland Foster remarked after putting his own property on FallingFruit.org.
In the Richmond's Northside, Foster's front yard has been converted into a share garden-full of tomatoes, Swiss chard, beans and peppers. Anyone is welcome to take what they need.
"When I have to spend $1.79 to go buy a tomato and I can take that tomato and I can take one of those seeds and I can plant tomatoes for the year, the least I can do is plant food, because food is free," Orland shared as he discussed his original goal, which was to help the homeless using his green thumb to share the harvest.
Falling Fruit's website is free to access and the app is $3.99, but that cost can be re-cooped on your first trip.
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