San Juan Bautista orchard bins filled with apples

A big 2020 apple harvest season is all wrapped up, with many changes this year. Not only adapting our harvests to the pandemic, but also adapting (coping with?) the destructive wildfires that started in Northern California in mid August and continue in some locations at the end of October.

While it seems a distant memory at this moment, the smoke from wildfires had a drastic impact on air quality in the Bay Area. For health reasons we cancelled a total of 7 harvests from mid August through early October, but were able to reschedule many locations thanks to the flexibility of volunteers and much extra effort on the part of harvest organizers.

Here are the season results by the numbers:

  • 18 completed apple harvests (with 7 apple harvests cancelled because of smoke and air quality)
  • 8 different orchards harvested, including 2 first time in Aptos and Corralitos
  • 27,501 lbs. of apples harvested and donated to food banks serving 4 counties, enjoyed by as many as 25,000 people
  • 305 volunteers participating
  • Smiles uncountable because of masks

San Juan Bautista Apple Orchard Harvest, October 17

We closed out the season with what turned out to be a record harvest at one of our favorite spots, an orchard in San Juan Bautista with 500 low trees and very generous owners who now only give the fruit away rather than sell. The October 17 harvest had 52 volunteers and yielded approximately 8,700 lbs. of apples, so much that we filled all 10 bins provided by Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County and every crate in Village Harvest's large van.

Here's a photo gallery from this very abundant and fun last harvest.