A scheme to make the most of Middlesbrough’s fruit harvest has been launched in the town.
Middlesbrough Abundance is keen to hear from all residents who have fruit trees in their gardens and allotments to ensure as little as possible goes to waste.
The initiative is part of Middlesbrough Environment City’s Big Lottery Local Food-funded Grown In Middlesbrough project which is encouraging people to grow their own healthy, nutritious produce.
Abundance is already gathering information about residents’ back garden fruit trees and will harvest the fruit in late summer and autumn, making the most of surpluses and windfalls and clearing gardens of unwanted fruit.
Catherine Boyle, who is managing the initiative, said: “We have a real fruit-growing heritage in Middlesbrough and historically a lot of local land was used commercially to produce apples, pears and plums.
“There are still remnants of old orchards in our gardens, as well as newer fruit trees planted during and since the war.
“Fruit trees can be very productive and often overwhelm their owners, making them difficult to manage.
“Abundance offers us a chance to take what is unwanted and turn it into something useful, as well as ensuring that trees are less likely to be felled unnecessarily.
“The goal is to ensure a more sustainable food future for Middlesbrough, making the most of local resources and improving the environment and the health of local people.
“It’s an opportunity to be involved in something innovative and exciting and at the same time it’s making the most of resources many of us take for granted or don’t even notice.”
Similar ventures have been set up in other towns and cities, most notably Sheffield and locally, Durham.
The fruit is gathered by volunteers, giving valuable training and skills opportunities, and is either sold as whole fruit, juiced or turned into jams, with a share of the harvest being returned to the tree owners and any profits being returned to the enterprise to sustain its activities.
Catherine would like to hear from anyone who has a fruit tree of any type and would like to be involved in the scheme, or any volunteers who would like to help with harvesting.
To find out more, give her a call on 01642 811300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org