Update July 29: Village Harvest continues to closely monitor and follow public health advice and requirements. Orchard harvests of all available fruit types have resumed but with reduced event sizes, mandatory use of masks and gloves, and other precautions. Home harvests are about to resume with smaller 4 volunteer harvests in selected areas of San Jose, Mountain View, and Los Altos.
Update Wednesday June 3:
Village Harvest resumed orchard harvests in May, but because of "social distancing" requirements for safety the sizes of our events are only 1/4 the number of volunteers or less than before.
While humans are dealing with the virus pandemic, nature moves on. In June we're looking forward to a busy season of apricot orchard harvests, although each event must be limited to about 1/2 the number of volunteers compared to past years. We will be trying to enable all interested volunteers to get into 1 harvest.
Home harvests are much more challenging because the tight spaces of most home yards will not permit us to have our usual 10-15 person events with many volunteers gathered around to make short work of big trees. Those harvests will not be possible in 2020 and perhaps next year as well, depending on what happens with the control and management of the virus and COVID-19 illness.
Details are still being worked out, but at this time we're planning to resume with 2 to 4 volunteer small harvests going to 1, sometimes 2 homes. The number of homeowners we can assist will be substantially reduced. We appreciate the understanding of homeowners; we must double or triple the number of volunteer leaders to have many small harvests, and this will take time.
Some food agencies are beginning to accept fresh fruit and produce donations again, but many are not yet. Our Community Food Drop Off Locations page will have updates.
Thanks to everyone in the extended Village Harvest community for their support.
Update Friday May 1:
Bay Area county health departments have extended the shelter-in-place orders through the end of May 2020, but also allowed addtional activities. Village Harvest remains eligible as an "essential business" but now "Outdoor Businesses" of many kinds may operate again, with controls. (Plant nurseries, yay!)
Village Harvest plans to resume volunteer harvests of orchards in early May but with smaller group sizes; volunteer and community safety is our highest priority and we're making sure there will be ample space for everyone to maintain physical distance. But not social distance - we can say "hi" in person again! Look for announcements through the volunteer newsletter.
At this time home harvests and applications for home harvesting assistance will remain paused for all of May. In the tighter spaces of home yards it's difficult to maintain the required distances and minimize contact between volunteers, and in most cases only 2 to 4 volunteers could participate per harvest.
Update Tuesday March 31:
Bay Area counties have extended the shelter-in-place orders through at least May 3, and all Village Harvest events have been cancelled through at least this date. We do not expect to resume home harvests in May but may resume limited orchard harvests.
Update Friday March 20:
Because of the uncertainty of when Village Harvest can resume harvests during the COVID-19 crisis, we are not accepting Home Sign Ups or Harvest Requests at this time. These forms have been temporarily disabled.
Many or most food agencies are not accepting homeowner drop offs. Please do not pick your own tree for donation at this time; most citrus fruit will hold well on trees for several months.
Update Monday March 16:
Beginning Monday March 16, all harvests are canceled indefinitely in support of the extraordinary request by Bay Area counties for residents to “shelter in place” at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus / COVID-19. Under the public health orders Village Harvest is eligible to continue operating, and depending on food supply at pantries and food banks we may resume limited orchard, but not home, harvests after early May.
Because of the uncertainty of when we may resume we are temporarily not accepting harvest requests.
Stay healthy, keep others safe, and let's all find ways to make lemonade in this challenging time.
Village Harvest is adapting our activities to follow public health guidance and our personal care for the health and safety of our extended family of volunteers and tree owners.
The latest Santa Clara County guidance for organizations is to minimize or cancel large gatherings including a ban for 3 weeks on events of 1,000 people and up; minimize close contact between people; and follow specific practices to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus.
Our events are much smaller and volunteers are apart in the outdoors rather than in close contact. However, to be cautious we are postponing our large 100 volunteer orange orchard harvests to April and will continue to monitor public health guidance.
At the same time, the harvests we do together provide important community benefits: healthy fruit for people in need, service for seniors who cannot pick their own trees, and life experiences and education for children and the young at heart.
For these reasons we plan to continue to hold smaller home harvest events, with precautions to ensure everyone has a safe experience. In a time of uncertainty, getting outdoors and doing good for others is valuable for our own health and well-being too.