COVID-19 Changes

Effective Monday March 16, all harvests are canceled through April 7 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 order 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 April 7.

Stay healthy, keep others safe, and let's all find ways to make lemonade in this challenging time.

Craig Diserens
Executive Director

Resources and Links

Backyard Orchard Resources
Backyard Fruit Tree - Care
Backyard Fruit Tree - Harvesting
Fruit - Post Harvest Handling and Storage
Backyard Fruit Tree - Pruning Info & Services
General Gardening Information
Gleaning (Harvesting) Programs
Gleaning Programs Information

Preserving - How-to
Preserving - Sources

Backyard Orchard Resources:

  • The California Backyard Orchard, a University of California resource for fruit and nut crops.
  • California Rare Fruit Growers is the largest amateur fruit-growing organization in the world, oriented toward the environmentally sound culture of any and all edible plants in the home landscape.  Among many resources, they have "Fruit Facts" pages with tremendous information on dozens of common and exotic fruit trees.
  • Dave Wilson Nursery Wholesale growers of deciduous fruit and nut trees.  An excellent source of backyard orchard culture advice.
  • Home Orchard Society, The Home Orchard Society is dedicated to "Growing Good Fruit at Home".  This website offers a wide variety of information, including articles, the newsletter "Pome News", tips (particularly useful ones for propagation), active discussion forums & news for principally hobby fruit growers.
  • Mark Rieger's Fruit Crops,  a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia for over 14 years.  Includes information on 40 different types of fruit. (not available as of 7/2010, appears to be moving to University of Florida)
  • Pomology Weather Services, a University of California service that reports chilling units accumulated and has harvest prediction models based upon blossom dates.

Backyard Fruit Tree - Care

Backyard Fruit Tree - Harvesting

Fruit  - Post Harvest Handling and Storage

Backyard Fruit Tree - Pruning Info and Services

  • Certified Arborist Search, originally from the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners.  Use the Fruit Tree Pruner Interview Questions to inquire about the arborist's expertise with fruit trees.  Outside of Santa Clara County?... see the ISA web-site. 
  • Fruit Tree Pruner Interview Questions.  Fruit tree pruning is quite different than landscape tree pruning. Before you hire a fruit tree pruner, here are some questions to ask.
  • Dave Muffly, Palo Alto, CA  650.283.6911
    Dave is a Certified Arborist and former Program Director for Canopy: Trees for Palo Alto. Among Dave's specialties are all aspects of fruit tree growing - selection, installation, care and pruning. Prefers the Palo Alto area.
  • Kevin Raftery Horticultural Services, Palo Alto, CA  650.428.8733
    Certified Arborist and teacher of fruit tree pruning classes at Common Ground and Foothill Community College.  Prunes fruit trees on the peninsula between Burlingame and Los Gatos. 
  • Kevin Stevens, Palo Alto, CA.  650.328.0743
    Landscape designer that loves to incorporate edibles into his designs.  Expert in fruit tree care and pruning.  Will select, install, thin, prune and consult on fruit tree care, including espaliers.
  • Orchardkeepers, Santa Cruz, CA  831.854.7811
    Ecological Fruit Tree and Orchard Management. Matthew Sutton and staff specializes in all aspects of fruit tree care from site prep. and planting to restoration of forgotten trees.  Teaches workshops on pruning and fruit tree care around the SF Bay and Santa Cruz county.
  • Professional Horticulture Associates, Campbell, CA.  408.761.9415
    Very experienced fruit tree pruners that have worked with many of the old time orchardists in the valley to learn from their experience.  PHA also sells high quality garden tools and provides tool sharpening services.
Below are resources for learning on your own.   
  • Pruning Fruit Trees, a summary of pruning practices for many fruit trees.  Written by Dick Dentino, Santa Clara County Master Gardener.
  • What is Backyard Orchard Culture, Published by Dave Wilson Nursery.  Includes many ideas for high density planting, successive ripening and pruning in a backyard orchard.
  • Common Ground Garden Center, Palo Alto, CA and other nurseries, often have fruit tree pruning classes.  Check Common Ground's schedule out.

General Gardening Information

Gleaning (Harvesting) Programs

(Directory moved to new page).

Gleaning Programs Information

  • A Citizen's Guide to Food Recovery Programs, from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).  A resource guide which describes US food recovery activities already taking place, and suggests how a community, a business, or an individual can support existing programs or begin new efforts. The guide also discusses legal issues, food safety, and includes many links to other information and organizations.
  • Waste Not, Want Not, an EPA guide to feeding the hungry and reducing solid waste through food recovery.  (pdf format)

Preserving - How to

Preserving - Sources

  • California Glass Company, Supplier to the wine industry and food processors in the Bay Area.  Located near the Oakland Airport.  Get together with your friends to make the $100 minimum.
  •,  Custom preserve labels for your own creations.
  • Workstead Industries, Jam Line (413) 772-6816.  Distributor of Pomona's Universal Pectin a low-methoxyl pectin used for low sugar and no sugar preserving.
  • Kitazawa Seeds,  510-595-1188, Oakland, CA.
    Maya Shiroyama hunted high and low for the largest and best tasting Poha Berry Seeds from Hawaii.  If you like our Poha Berry Preserves and would like to grow some yourself, contact Kitazawa Seeds.  They specialize in asian vegetable seeds from many countries. 


  • Just Fruit Recipes, Recipes for using all types of fruit from Apples, to Persimmons to Watermelon.
  • Canning Recipes, an informal collection of canning and dehydrating recipes.  Includes fruit and vegetables with some tips on food safety.
  • Fruit Wine,  Lum Eisenman wrote the "Home Winemaker's Manual", a thorough Internet book on home wine making.  Includes a section on making fruit wines.  (pdf format, 13 MB)
Favorites from Village Harvest volunteers -- enjoy!
  • Black Mission Fig Vinegar (pdf format)
    Easy to make and uses a lot of figs for when they are in season.
  • Candied Citrus Peel (pdf format)
    This treat is very much in keeping with the spirit of Village Harvest... finding abundace in what is already available.
  • Kumquat Marmalade (pdf format)
    This is an old traditional recipe for kumquat marmalade given to us by the grandmother of a VH volunteer.  It creates a nice marmalade with lots of carmel flavors.
  • Lemon Marmalade (pdf format)
  • Santa Rosa Plum Jam
    We're currently using a standard full-sugar recipe with pectin that you can purchase at any grocery store.  The flavor blend is completely based upon the quality and the ripeness of the fruit that's preserved.  To make our preserves, we blend fruit, just as winemakers do, to get the balance we're looking for.  Have fun experimenting on your own!
  • Marmalade Gingerbread (pdf format)
    A wonderful old fashioned recipe that's perfect with Seville Orange Marmalade but can work with any type of citrus marmalade.
  • Meyer Lemon Margarita (pdf format)
    A great way to enjoy the essence of Meyer Lemons.  Warning… this margarita is very potent. Not your usual watered down faire.
  • Meyer Lemon Marmalade (low sugar) (pdf format)
  • Pineapple Guava Jam (low sugar)
    We've received many requests for this recipe however making low sugar Pineapple Guava preserves requires you to test pH, else it could be potentially hazardous.  Since most homecanners don't have this ability, we suggest that you use a full-sugar recipe.  One hint:  Leave the peeler in the drawer.  Instead, slice the fruit in half lengthwise and scope the meat out with a spoon.
  • Persimmon Sorbet (pdf format)
    Perfect for when you have too many Hachiya (astringent) persimmons.
  • Seville Orange Marmalade (pdf format)
    Very similar to the recipe that we use in the Village Harvest kitchen.  However, making Seville Orange Marmalade is like making wine and results will vary widely based upon the ingredients and preserve maker.
  • Whole Dried Persimmons - Hoshigaki (pdf format)
  • Almond Cookies (pdf format)
    Many people have asked for this recipe to make thumbprint cookies with jam.  A light and flakey twist on a classic.