The 2021 apricot orchard harvest season was a longer-than-usual period of 3 weeks and volunteers enjoyed 10 harvests of heritage orchards in Los Altos Hills, Northeast San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Gilroy. Together, we harvested a total of 5,604 lbs. of apricots, enough to provide this special fruit to 11,000 or more people in need in two counties.
This year's harvests were heavily influenced by the two years of low rainfall resulting in our oldest unirrigated orchards having no fruit or small amounts, and by cooler temperatures overall slowing the ripening of the fruit.
The Saratoga Heritage Orchard became our "go to" spot again this year, and 6 of the 10 harvests were at this location because the trees were well-irrigated and had abundant fruit. The City of Saratoga is very committed to making this public land a community resource, and organized their first "Community Harvest Day" with U-Pick harvests by residents and information tables with organizations (including Village Harvest). These U-Pick harvests were so popular that the City was scheduling as many as 120 people per day to pick up to a gallon of apricots to enjoy at home.
By the numbers:
- 321 volunteers participating
- 10 harvests in 21 days
- 5 orchard locations
- Harvested 5,604 pounds of apricots, donated to 7 food agencies and food banks from Gilroy to Menlo Park. (Compare to 8,219 pounds in 2020)
- Benefitted 11,000 or more people in need in two counties.
Doing many harvest events in a short time requires a LOT of teamwork, and we're all grateful to the 20+ volunteer harvest leaders and assistants who guided these events.
We want to thank the City of Saratoga and community engagement coordinator Kayla Nakamoto for arranging for us to harvest the Saratoga Heritage Orchard, and to Orchard Keepers for loaning us extra ladders and for their maintenance of the Saratoga Heritage Orchard.