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Why My Tree Was Not Harvested?

Why My Tree Was Not Harvested?

If your tree was scheduled to be harvested and we were not able to service you, and our harvest leader did not call or text you, we sincerely apologize. The purpose of this post is to help you better understand why.

The Making of a Harvest Team
This background information is useful in understanding our condition.

Each week we look for a cluster of 3-5 ripe fruit trees that are near each other. We contact the fruit donors (that’s you) and organize a harvest route (start here, then go here, then….)

Weeks before the harvest, we publish a schedule of harvests where 10 to 12 volunteers can register to attend a harvest.

We then put the harvest route and the harvest teams together under the supervision of a harvest leader and viola; we have a lean, mean harvest machine.

Time Is Important
The courtesy rule that we follow closely is if we have published that the harvest is from 10 am to 1 pm, these are the hours. We start at 10 am promptly and finish at 1 pm, not matter where we are or what we are doing. Volunteers have lives and we don’t ask them to stay beyond the allotted time.

With that background out of the way, here are the most likely reasons why your tree was not harvested.

We can’t harvest in the rain. Sometimes we cancel the entire harvest or stop the harvest at mid point because of unexpected rain.

Mechanical Problems
Anything that stops the harvest van from operating (auto accident, flat tire, ran out of fuel, etc.) stops the entire harvest.

These things happen, but not often. The more likely reasons are:

Helper Shortage
We allow 12 volunteers to register for a harvest (no one wants 50 people in their backyard.) We organize our work based on the anticipated number of volunteers (we count on 20% of volunteers to not show up. People get sick, etc.) However, if our no shows exceed 20%, then the harvest team will be short-handed, most likely unable to finish the route.

Mother Nature
We won’t blame mother nature, but fruit set is unpredictable. We sometimes run into trees, where the tree owner had estimated the yield to be around 150 pounds, last year we harvested 200 pounds and this year the tree has put out 600 pounds. While it makes sense to harvest as much fruit as we can from the tree at hand, the monster crops sometimes affect our schedule.

Plan of Action
Our harvest leaders often can anticipate if their team is unable to complete the route. When they think that a tree or two may be left unharvested, they call or text the fruit donors that are on their list to let them know we will not get to their tree on that day.

Most of the time our harvest leaders (who are also volunteers) call and leave a message, but sometimes, depending on what battles they are fighting, they may not be able to call you. If this is the case, we sincerely apologize for not communicating with you promptly. Leaving you in the dark is the last thing we want to do.

Date-Certain Harvest
We do all that we can (within above real life constrains) to service as many fruit donors, as we can. However if you absolutely must have your fruit harvested by a certain date (i.e., you have a construction project that starts next week) please make alternate plans. We don’t have employees and under no circumstances can we guarantee that we can harvest your fruit by a certain date.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

About The Author

Siamack Sioshansi

Siamack is the executive director and co-founder of the project. He was born in a small village in southeast Iran where he learned about food and the importance of community resiliency. He attended Purdue University and worked for IBM and Apple Computers before starting a software company. He lives in San Francisco.

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