We are Feral Fruit Farmers

Most of us have heard the term feral cats. Domestic cats that have gone wild. Feral fruit is domestic fruit that is growing wild or unattended in people’s yards.

In my edible and medicinal herb walks I would call our finds wild fruit. I found most people were thinking that to get this wild food they would have to venture into the wilderness. The majority of my wild food foraging is around urban areas and by volume most of that is feral fruit.

Apples are the main feral fruit we collect. They are everywhere in our area. Anytime I’m out driving around I keep a watch for them. I have been doing this for 30 years and can spot an apple tree with or without apples from a long way off. It’s not unusual to collect a thousand pounds or more to make cider, jam, apple butter, dried apples, and to eat fresh. They are available from August to October depending on the variety. Last year I pressed over a hundred gallons of cider all from feral fruit.

I tell people they even have the organic seal of approval on them. Scabs and worm marks. But don’t worry, in most cases that doesn’t affect their edibility.

Pears are the second most abundant feral fruit in our area. What’s nice about them is that they aren’t bothered by pests. We dry them, mix them with apple cider, and make a wonderful organic pear sauce that is sugarless.

In our Feral Fruit Farming this year we also collected six five gallon buckets of Concord grapes, over thirty pounds of plums, a bunch of comfrey and other herbs.

Some helpful hints for the Feral Fruit farmer:
  • During harvest season always have buckets and bags in the car so when you spot fruit you can stop and get it right away.
  • An apple picker is a handy tool to reach higher up in the tree.
  • Take a step ladder along.
  • Binoculars are helpful to scoop distant trees.
  • I take clippers to prune the tree a bit so they produce better the next year. It also makes it easier to pick the fruit.
  • Have some kind of mapping system to record the location of the trees and when the fruit is normally ready to pick. A really good tool for this is Google maps. You can make a personal map that includes exact location, pictures, and notes about your harvest. For years I marked things on a detailed county map.
Feral fruit harvesting time brings fruit flies.
During harvest time we have lots of fruit sitting around waiting to be eaten, canned, dehydrated, or frozen. This usually brings out a cloud of fruit flies in our house. It doesn’t really bother us but some visitors are a little more squeamish about them.

Enter the Frugal Prosumer Feral Fruit Farmer Fruit Fly Trap.

It’s super simple, super cheap, and super effective.
Take a canning jar, put in a piece of sliced up fruit, cover the jar with plastic wrap, put a rubber band around it or use a canning jar lid ring to keep it on. Take a tooth pick and poke a bunch of holes in the wrap and you have an amazing simple and effective fruit fly trap. It works very well. We set several around the kitchen and house.

Now say feral fruit farmer fruit fly trap 3 times really fast.