Once again it is time for those following this challenge to vote on the rules. On my morning walk, I came across a woman working in her garden and struck up a conversation. I noticed that had an orange tree in her yard and I asked if the oranges were good? She went over to the tree, picked a few and walked back over to me. “Here, decide for yourself,” she said as he handed me three oranges:


This brings up an interesting question and one that I have thought about on my walks, but have been avoiding because I wasn't sure how ethical it would be for this challenge. Up until this point, I have only done foraging on public land, but the fact is that there are a lot of fruit trees and gardens on private land in my area. It goes without saying that my sister believes these should be off limits to me because they are on private land. I, on the other hand, find it frustrating to see all kinds of perfectly good food go to waste (something that I really never noticed until I began this challenge) because there is too much for the homeowner to consume it all so it just sits on the trees to rot.

Should I be able to go after this free food to help supplement my diet? I would never go an pick food on private land without the homeowners permission, but that still leaves the question of whether or not I can accept food that comes from private land if I get the homeowner's permission when it is obvious that it will otherwise go to waste.

[poll id=”4″]

Please feel free to express your thoughts, opinion and or experiences about this in the comments.

In addition to the oranges, I was able to get some more loquats:

loquat foraging

I am having a dilemma about how I should go about picking them in the future. It's painfully obvious that the squirrels aren't holding back at all when it comes to claim their share from the tree. Up to this point, I have only been picking a day's worth or two knowing that I would be back by again to pick more if I needed. I'm wondering if I should gather a bit more — it would be nice to have a little reserve on them, but I could certainly survive continuing the current way that I go about gathering them.

Loquat Banana Smoothie

I used the 5 loquats I found in combination with a banana (and 7 ice cubes) to make this morning's fruit smoothie (I have a few more loquats, but I picked them a bit early and they need another couple of days to ripen). While there are a lot of things that I won't keep doing when this challenge is over, the morning fruit smoothie is definitely something I plan to continue. It really is a great (and healthy) way to start the day:

loquat banana smoothie

Cheerio Granola Blackberry Cereal

One of my hopes now that I have a bit of a cushion is to stock up on a variety of cereal when the next big sale comes along. The issue I have had in the past is that to get the best deal, you usually need to buy a minimum number of boxes. spending $4 to get 8 different types of cereal would have really hurt the rest of my budget, but I think I have reached the point where I should be able to take full advantage of these offers again. The reason why this is important is that I really like to mix cereals — for some reason, they simply taste better to me that way. Today I mixed Cheerios and Kashi GoLean Crunch and added a few blackberries on top. Good stuff 🙂

Cheerio granola blackberry cereal

Baked Potato

My struggle with potatoes continues. Although I have finally broken the key to good hash browns, I proved that I still have a long way to go with baked potatoes.

I tried to go the quick and easy route by microwaving the potato after sticking it with a fork, but I think that I over microwaved it. The middle was fine, but the outer edges were hard as a rock. I placed some cheese on top and then opted for the topping that came with the Kraft lunchables that I had never used (I decided that I would go with it instead of sour cream because it had a bacon and onion flavor to it — the taste was fine for the portions I was able to eat and I would use it as a topping again).

baked potato

baked potato topped

Since I still have plenty of potatoes left, I guess it's time to practice on them until I can get the baked potato right. In addition to the baked potato, I also took a cup of the strawberry yogurt I had and mixed Kashi cereal into it:

yogurt and Kashi

Taco Salad

Megan in the comments mentioned that I had all the ingredients to make a quick and easy taco salad (“Taco salad: cook beef. Drain. Add taco seasonings. Chop up some lettuce, tomato, onion, top with beef and sour cream”) and when it comes to new recipes, easy is high on my list of what makes them attractive to try. I only used about 1/4 of the bag of taco seasoning since I had such a small amount of meat so I should be able to do this again in the future. Easy and tasty (although it did remind me how much I miss going out for Mexican food)

taco salad salad

taco salad meat

taco salad

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $38.66
Money left to spend: $22.34 ($5.04 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $1023.17


The Beginning ::: Day 56: How Sad Is A Cooking Injury?


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  1. I drink a smoothie every morning also. I use yogurt in mine so it is a little more filling, and gives me some protein and calcium. Adjust the amount of liquid depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

    1/2 cup liquid (milk, soy milk or fruit juice — whatever you have on hand)
    1/2 cup yogurt (plain is best, but whatever you have on hand works)
    1 frozen banana (I freeze ripe bananas in chunks, helps with the blending)

  2. Here’s the thing… that could become quite easy. If you find yourself running out of food, just ask your neighbor. that goes out of the realm of the challenge and then goes on to asking for charity…
    but then… if someone offers to take you out to dinner, would that be allowed? probably not.

  3. Yes you can and should be able to strike up an agreement with a local source of food, whether for free or for a price (in barter), whether its on public or private land. It’s no different than neighbors doing a community garden which gardening is permissible according to the rules.

  4. I agree with Ryan , I have not had to buy egg’s in almost a year as my next door neighbor give’s me egg’s every month , Fresh egg’s mind you the best lol. I bake bread and will give out loaves to my neighbor’s as well . None of us are rich and buying egg’s bread some time’s just meat (chicken , beef ) is a Luxury . We all garden and trade and if someone doesn’t have for that week or month we give it to them .

  5. Bonnie, having someone take him out to dinner is allowable. Someone bought his lunch just yesterday! The key there is that they offered.

    That said, I don’t think you should have to wait for an offer to forage on private land. You shouldn’t ask more than once (or be a nuisance in any way), but many growers hate seeing food go to waste, and having rotten food on the ground attracts pests. By all means, feel free to ask if you can forage.

  6. i have an ice cream bucket that fits about 4 boxes of cereal and i mix them that way. my kids love it and i can sneak in some of the ‘yucky’ cereals that way. like one box of fiber flakes, one box of chereos, 1 box of granola cereal and 1 box of sugar cereal. based on what’s on sale.

  7. Wash and stab the potato, then place it in a bowl, put into microwave, then place another bowl (upside down) on top. Cook until done. Be carefull checking the potato for done-ness as there will be lots of hot steam!

    I’ve been known to chop up the potato, cook it this way until done, put dabs of butter and layer of cheese on it, and then microwave until cheese is melted. Not very healthy, but yummy! 🙂

  8. Yes, with permission you should be able to salvage fruit that is going to go to waste! Should you pick dandelions or lamb’s quarters? Yes, if you like greens or use them for salad.

    As for the loquats, I would pick as much as needed but not so much they would ruin unless you want to freeze them or something.

    As for the baked potatoes in the microwave, definitely stab them, I run mine through with an ice pick! Then if they are not totally done on the outside, I will cut them in half then cover and cook them for a couple minutes, leave them covered so they can finish up!

  9. Here in Arizona, home owners are strongly encouraged to remove all citrus from their property because leaving it on the tree can attract vermin such as roof rats. While I’ve never seen one, I do know that they have been bothersome in some parts of metro Phoenix:

    Regardless of the vermin in your area, removing any form of citrus would probably be very beneficial to the home owner. What I might do in your situation is to try to find an elderly homeowner, and offer to remove/clean off the citrus in exchange for some for yourself. That way, you’ll be helping someone that needs your help, and you’ll get oranges without feeling like you’re asking for charity.

    Btw, about a possible excess of fruit, have you researched drying it to preserve them? Also, you may be able to make fruit leather with the loquats and blackberries and save them that way.

  10. I, too, like mixing cereals; and they really do taste better that way. Gets expensive for me, tho, since I can’t buy in bulk.

    As for accepting produce from private home owners/private land…YES, it should be allowed!!! If someone offers you the food, that’s great. I also see no reason why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them if they mind if you take some…especially if there is an overabundance of it or it doesn’t look like they’re going to do anything with it or if they can’t manage to get it all before it goes off.

    I’m not sure exactly what your goal was when you & your sister started this challenge….however, I believe it’s much more important to spread the word about your challenge to a wider range of people surfing the internet. There are TONS of people out there who struggle with finances on a daily basis (myself included), and they need to be aware of what some of their options are. Believe me, food stamps will only go so far. As for food banks, well, in many places (here in Indiana, PA, for example), unless you own a car, you’re out of luck if your area doesn’t have public transport that can take you to where the food banks are!

    Believe me when I say that if & when you conclude this challenge, I’m really going to miss the daily updates! Keep up the good work, Jeffrey. And try explaining to your sister that the roadblocks she keeps putting in your path are a hindrance to the others out there reading this that really need all the knowledge they can get from your blog!

  11. Sorry, I should have googled before I posted, but I just found a recipe (with pictures) for fruit leather. I like how it suggests that an outdoor grill (turned off) may work for drying fruit, I may have to try it:

    After you make the fruit leather, you can eat it as is, or shred it up and use it in recipes like you would use other fruit. I have a feeling that it would work fairly well in a smoothie if you allow the blender to pulverize it well.

  12. Try crockpot baked potatoes. Put them in in the am and turn it on. They take about 4 hours, so by lunch they are ready. No hot oven and no overdone microwave. They are moist and fluffy.

  13. How about some roasted potatoes?

    Just wash off the potatoes then dice them (you could also just quarter them, although it would change the baking time). If you are doing just a portion for yourself you can use 1 large potato or 2 small ones. Also, use about 1/4 onion, chopped up in small chunks. Toss the potatoes and onion with some vegetable/extra virgin/canola oil (about 2tbsp), and sprinkle with garlic salt. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them into a 425 degree oven for 30-40min (or until they are browned and soft) turning them halfway through.
    OR, if you don’t have the oil and garlic salt you could just take the potatoes and onion and toss with a little bit of italian dressing and then bake as above.

    btw-I voted that you should be able to accept if the owner offers (like what happened today). It doesn’t surprise me that your sister has a problem with this either. I wonder if SHE were the one doing this challenge would she be such a stickler about the rules?

  14. Like many of your polls, this goes (to me) back to what you would do in a real-life situation. And I bet you would be asking your neighbors if you could forage for fruit but only if it’s *clear that they aren’t using it.* If they offer, than no problem

  15. Out here in Seattle, owners who live with a fruit tree can register it with a non-profit (LettuceLink). They come out and assess your tree, then pick the fruit to donate to food banks in Seattle.

    I think that since you asked about the quality of the food, it was an invitation to try it, and therefore acceptable. Another way would be a semi barter situation – oranges for a few jars of homemade marmalade, for example. If you presented it as “feed me” then not so acceptable.

  16. My favorite way to cook a potato is to rub it with oil (I prefer olive oil, but any you have will work) then sprinkle it with salt & pepper (I also prefer fennel seed and rosemary if you can get either one cheap). Wrap it tightly in foil (DO NOT POKE IT!) and cook it in the oven at 400 for about an hour. It’s the perfect potato in my opinion! You can do the same seasonings, wrap it in a paper towel instead of foil and microwave it for about 6-10 minutes. It’s not as good as the slow cooked one, but it works if you’re in more of a hurry.

  17. I second the tip about rubbing your potatoes with olive oil and then baking them. If you are in a hurry, you can start them in the microwave and then finish them in the oven, they might not have such a tough outer layer then. Also, I find they are yummy even without being wrapped in foil (in case that’s not in the budget). Works well in a toaster oven too if you have one, so you don’t have to heat the whole oven up.

    Your blog is amazing! Keep up the good work.

  18. I feel like this is outside the scope of the challenge. Taking food from private property is like getting free handouts from neighbors. It shouldn’t be allowed because such a practice is obviously extremely variable (especially for people who live in rich vs poor neighborhoods) and not everybody has access to it. Again, although it’s a perfectly acceptable method of getting food normally, I feel like it should be banned in this challenge, just as taking free meals from your neighbors wouldn’t be allowed.

  19. Yes. Forage for goodness sake! It is important to your health and it is only going to waste. Not to get all political about this but I see this entire challenge as a demonstration of how possible it is to game the first-world food surplus. Fruit rotting on the trees is a very real part of that.

    In a best case scenario, you would bring some awareness to one of your neighbors and they would start donating their extra fruit to the local food pantry.

    Learn how to preserve some of it. Canned fruit would be a great thing to have on hand and you might even give away some for birthdays and Christmas. Done right, it makes an elegant gift. From you, it would be particularly meaningful, as it would obviously be a sacrifice.

  20. Hi,
    Just read through the second month of your blog (the first month didn’t interest me so much as, to be fair to your sister, she was completely right, you would pretty much eat anything during that month).

    I grew up in Bermuda and we had no end of loquat trees along many of the island’s footpaths. I haven’t seen them in years, but they really are awesome things. Lucky you, for finding them.

    Anyway, when we got hold of loquats, we would generally make them into a crumble. I don’t know if you do crumbles over on your side of the Atlantic, but it’s basically a cake/biscuit layer over the top of fruit. It is usually served with icecream, custard or yoghurt in order to balance the dryness of the crumble.

    I was just going to put down a crumble recipe here, but I did a bit of searching around on the web and found a site called http://www.videojug.com, which has a Food & Drink section of videos of recipes being prepared. The video for http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-apple-crumble seemed to be the closest to the recipe we used to use for the loquats (sorry if this seems like spam, it’s not, but feel free to remove my comment if you think it is. Do visit the site, though.)

    It’s nice to have a video teaching you how to cook a new dish, I think, because it gives you a much clearer idea of the textures you’ll want from the recipe and the “breadcrumb” texture you want in a crumble can be a bit hard to imagine without it.

    Anyway, just replace the apples in that recipe with the loquats. You’ll probably want to have less sugar, as you seem to have gotten rid of it form your diet almost completely, and good for you for that.

  21. As a person with lots of fruit trees in the yard and plenty of people who walk up and steal them, I’d have no problem sharing as long as they asked first. So I say, ask and if the owner says yes, go for it.

  22. Those smoothies look amazing!

    Regarding the baked potato thing–I make them in the microwave all the time (and they can get overcooked). Here is what I do:

    After rinsing and poking, cook on high for 2 minutes. Turn over. Cook on high for another minute and a half or so. Then let sit in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then squeeze it to see if it is done. It is usually perfectly cooked at this point. If not, cook for another minute or so.

  23. People remember that this contest is about living on 1$ dollar a day for food. Not living on one dollar a day based on what you can buy at a grocery store.
    Too quote Kai Jorgensen
    “just as taking free meals from your neighbors wouldn’t be allowed.”
    Why not, if you get invited over to have dinner at some ones house would you not take it? It makes no logical sense not too. Anyone who would have to do this would go in a heart beat why not some one who wants too?

    To the people speaking of rich versus poor neighborhoods and the willingness to share. I have lived in both very wealthy and very poor, and the very poor neighbor hoods were always more sharing and giving than those in the rich neighborhoods.

    About the crumbles:
    “I don’t know if you do crumbles over on your side of the Atlantic, but it’s basically a cake/biscuit layer over the top of fruit”
    What you describe is actually just a plain old cobbler, now if you rolled it out and broke it up and put it in before the fruit it would be a true crumble. But yes they do have cobblers on the west coast. Apple and cherry are rally quite popular, along with the old staple peach.

  24. If your sis allowed “foraging” this time around, I don’t see what trees on someone’s yard vs. public land has to do with anything.

  25. Pierce your potatoes with a fork on both sides several times and then wrap in plastic wrap. It keeps the moisture in and the skins aren’t so wrinkly. Keep up the good work. As far as the fruit trees/veggies go, as long as you ask the person and they give permission, go for it, if the fruit happens to fall out of their property line/fence, then its fair game, for as I see it that haven’t take care of the plants/trees by pruning to keep inside their property lines.

  26. I have never had good luck microwaving potatoes. If you happen to think of it an hour or so before you want to eat, I would say the oven is definitely the way to go. Also, I always love mashed potatoes. Wash and cube the potatoes, and put them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Boil them until they are soft, you can poke them, or just take a piece out and test it (eat it). For one large potato, I add about 2 T of milk, 1 T butter (maybe you could try miracle whip) and salt and garlic powder until it tastes good. Dried onions or whatever other spices you have that smell good with the garlic are also good.

  27. I don’t see the problem with asking to pick fruit from a tree. We have persimmon and apple trees in our backyard and it irritates me that strangers come up in the fall up until 11pm at night and pick our fruit. If they ask that is different.

  28. I say “yes” you can get fruit or veggies from private property with the owner’s permission. To me this challenge is about thinking outside the box in order to feed yourself. If you aren’t stepping over the line ethically (such as taking without asking or being offered), then I have no problem with it. Everyone’s situation is different…not everyone has access to a computer with printer, not everyone has public land fruit available to them in their area, not everyone has good coupons in their paper (those are regionalor even city specific and smaller papers have smaller coupon inserts), etc.
    I can’t grow anything besides the odd tomato and decent herbs in my garden to save my life, but I’m great with flowers, my next door neighbor gives me some of her surplus produce and I give her divisions and rooted cuttings of all different kinds of plants. I give her diaper and little kid coupons and she gives me her coupons for the face wash and shampoo my daughter loves. I firmly believe that if you have an excess, you should pass it on.

    I guess my point is that not everyone has the exact same situations available to them and making the most of YOUR situation is what you should do. Good luck!

  29. My son loves cinnamon apples, which I cook in the microwave with little cinnamon sugar (sometimes I add a few few raisins). I’m thinking you could do the same thing w/ the loquats &/or blackberries. When you take it out of the microwave, top it with a bit of crushed Kashi granola for a makeshift fruit crisp!

    As for your microwaved potato, try covering your poked potato with a damp kitchen towel & nuke for 3-5″. This should keep the outside from getting tough.

  30. I think that foraging for food is the same whether on public or private lands. If the homeowner offers or you ask and they say yes, then go for it! We are downtown in a city of about 300K and a lot of people around here are low income, prob at least 50%+. We have a plum tree that is right on the corner of our property which is also on the corner of the street. Since it is right in the corner, it hangs over our fence in the front and side. Anything that hangs over is fair game to anyone walking by and we tell people that all the time. We also will give some out from the stuff on our side of the fence but only if we are out there already (or we’d be going outside all day to pick for people). There are a few people that we will go out to pick for, like some little girls that we know really could use the extra fruit. We also, have lemon, grapefruit and orange in the back yard and would share that as well if asked. In fact we were working on our veggie garden a few weeks ago and a guy walked by and was talking to my hubby. He mentioned that he would take some off our hands if we wanted another day. I had a bag back there with me so I went and got him some right then. No big deal. Again, there were kids involved and I know that he does not work. Anyways, I think that anyone that pays attention to whats growing in other people’s yards, could score free fruit.

  31. @Lostinbrave I wasn’t thinking when I wrote that comment. The crumble layer is just made with butter and flour (and some sugar, according to taste), it’s not cakey at all. My bad.

    I thought crumble would be a good choice because it only needs two (flour, butter) or three (sugar) ingredients, which keep for a long time, and no expertise at all. It’s literally just butter pressed into flour; though cobbler, to be fair, is hardly any more effort.

  32. I’m torn on the fruit. Yes, if someone is trying to survive on a low budget, I say go for whatever food is available to you.

    However, if you’re trying to come up with an example of living on a low budget that’s doable for most people, making foraging part of it makes it useless to many people. Many people just don’t have access to fruit other than in stores, and produce tends to be expensive and not have many coupons available.

  33. I think that anything offered to you is fair. That is a normal part of life. At my office, during the summer there are often bags of zucchini and tomatoes and peppers sitting on the table in the lunchroom for anyone to help themselves .

    As to potatoes: Do you have to use the microwave? The best baked potatoes result from just popping the potato in the cold oven, then set the temp to 400 and they are done in about an hour. If you like crispy skin you can let it go longer. Couldn’t be easier. You don’t even need to wash the potato first as germs will be killed while it bakes in the oven. But I was very interested in another commenter’s suggestion to use a slow cooker. I am definitely going to try that sometime!

  34. I voted no on this one, but with a caveat: the general rule of thumb is that if a person’s fruit tree is overgrowing a public right of way (say a limb extends over the sidewalk), any fruit you can reach without encroching the owners property is fair game. Of course, you might verify this is true in your local area, but here is where I first read about it in LA (http://www.fallenfruit.org/index.php/about/)

  35. If you don’t have meat on hand, you can still make a great taco salad by cooking ups some rice and black beans with a little taco seasoning. You can usually get a big bag of dried beans for under a dollar, and you can often pick up Mahatma rice at Walmart with the .50/1 coupons that are often in the paper making it around $.50 a bag. For the $1.50 for a bag of each beans and rice, you can get quite a few meals.

  36. I always wrap my potatoes with a soaked paper towel, put it in a bowl with a cover and microwave for 8-10 min., then bake with olive oil and pepper to crisp out the skin.

  37. For baked potatoes in the microwave I use a potato bag. It’s something you can make yourself for a few dollars (less if you have some spare cotton fabric around.) It makes a brilliant potato and steams other veggies too.
    Here are instructions: http://web.archive.org/web/20071202190308/http://www.atimetostitch.com/potato_bags.htm

    Use ONLY cotton thread/material/etc. If you have a high powered microwave set the power lower. I’ve never had a bag catch fire. If you are worried place a cup of water in with the bag.

  38. Skip the microwave. Wash the potatoes and put them in a baking dish with a few tablespoons of water. Bake them at 350 for an hour, then test with a fork. If they’re not tender, give them a few more minutes and try again. That should do it! They’ll be much less dry than when you nuke them.

  39. Your sister seems bent on making this even more challenging than it already is. I say if you are not breaking the law, you’re ok.

  40. Absolutely you should be able to ask for food on someone else’s tree! I do that ALL THE TIME and have never, not once, had someone turn me down. My neighborhood has cherries, plums, peaches, apples, lemons, limes, oranges, and blackberries, all of which drop fruit that goes to waste. Such a shame! I have asked and homeowners have said that they appreciate it, because it means less work for them to pick up the mess!

  41. The way to microwave potatoes is very simple. Put an inch of water in a heatproof bowl along with the potatoes. Use something like a plate as a loose fitting cover. The potato can not go dry. When a knife goes through it easily it is done.

  42. We used to have a pear tree that produced way more than we could handle. I would have been happy to give to anyone who asked. Same with growing stuff in a garden. There is a limit to how much one family can eat. To limit it to someone offering the spare fruit to you means you have to figure out a way to bummp into them, etc. Just much nicer to ring the doorbell and ask.

    As to what one of the other poster mentioned, why wouldn’t some poor neighborhoods have fruit trees growing? In our area of the country many of the poorest sections are also the oldest and if trees were started when the tenants were more properous years ago those trees might still be growing. I see no reason to limit this because ‘poor people can’t do it’. I see lots of fruit gowing to waste in my area and it is sad to see.

  43. Stab three or four medium sized potatoes with a skewer and place in a Pyrex bowl that has a lid and add three or four tablespoonfuls of water. Cook for 6-7 minutes and turn if it does not have a turntable. Cook for another 6-7 minutes and check for doneness with the skewer. Let stand for a few minutes to finish cooking.

    You should have a critical mass of potatoes, not enough and they dry out, too much and it takes too long to cook. Too small potatoes dry out before they cook, too large potatoes will not cook through. Adding a little water allows some steam in the container and stops drying out. The lid on the container stops drying out. Cooking too long will dry out the potatoes which is what you did. You also have to adjust the time up or down depending on the power of your microwave.

    Baking potatoes takes an hour, microwaving a quarter of that.

    If it is ok to scavenge fruit and wild food on public land, then it should be ok on private land with permission, what is the difference? I think the essence of this exercise is to eat on $1 a day. As long as you do not steal and keep things legal everything should be fair game. Here in Canada we do not have the same resources as you do with regards to cheap food and generous coupons. Here the challenge would have to be $5 a day.

    Our ancestors survived on the yearly excesses which they preserved for later when it was not available. Drying, smoking and salting gave way to canning, freezing and drying. The excess fruit can easily be cooked and frozen, or made into freezer jam.

    I notice one of the weaknesses in your exercise is your inability to cook.

  44. Blackberries can be frozen as is and last a long time in the freezer. Since you move around a lot maybe find someone with excess freezer space to leave stuff you won’t need right away. Then you can gather all the blackberries you can find in the summer and eat them in the winter. I also freeze bulk purchased blueberries and cherries. Cherries I cut in half and pit, then spread on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight before bagging so them aren’t one solid frozen lump. This way you can remove a handful at a time.

  45. I think it is perfectly within bounds to forage on private lands WITH owners permission. Like I said in a previous post, I can’t even give some of my garden produce away so it goes to waste. If someone were to ask me if I had any extra produce that would go to waste anyway, of course I would share. This, again, is not something that is unavailable to the average person. Since someone brought up the poverty stricken people and indicated that perhaps they wouldn’t have this available to them….well…then why are their food banks? Those people get assistance from other people who are willing to share. And I know for a fact that many poor people have food given to them from individuals as well.

  46. We have a large garden and do give excess produce to relatives, neighbors, and friends. We have had issues with people who have harvested from our garden without supervision and that includes things such as not leaving anything for us, damaging plants (we’ve actually had people pull plants right out of the ground), and stepping on newly seeded areas before the seedlings were up or just up. Some people also can’t recognize under-ripe from over-ripe and they don’t recognize fruit or vegetables that should not be picked due to disease or insect damage. By the same token, people may not select fruit or vegetables that have a speck of dirt or are not shaped perfectly and so on, so we see a lot of ignorance. For those reasons, and others not mentioned, I do think it is important to allow the grower to be in control of the situation.

    Also, we give away too much produce to people who have the time and space and right environment to grow their own but they just don’t want to. These people, especially now that we’re in our senior years, need to learn how to grow their own produce. It is a necessary life skill. Container gardening works just fine if a person doesn’t have decent soil. Edible landscapes are also useful and great for people who do not want a standard garden. So grow your own!!!

  47. Your salad looked delicious but from experience I know they don’t stick with you for a long period of time. I would add some of your tortilla chips or salsa rice to help fill your belly and make it a more substantial meal. I love your story.

  48. OK so by now I reaize your adventure is over. But I have this exact convo with my father regularly. We often walk together with my dog in the evenings. There is a house that has a huge garden (I live in a city so this is super rare given that we are all in row houses). They do a great job planting but 2/3 of the way thru summer they stop picking what we consider to be incredible finds. They just get lazy I guess because they do pick some stuff. Just not everything. Meanwhile, I pray to the veggie gods to bring me more than 10 t’maters each summer. And they just let hundreds go to rot. Drives me insane. I salivate watching those red and gold gems just sitting there ready to rot. Every day I say that they should bring them to a food bank or put a box out for neighbors to take or something other than letting great food rot. Anyway, I think sharing fruit off a tree or vine is exactly the sort of humanity we need to be promoting in society.


  49. It would annoy the hell out of me if I had a fruit tree and passers-by were asking me for fruit. If I wanted to give excess fruit away or sell it, I would do so. I think asking for it is rude.

    However, if someone offers you free fruit, absolutely you can take it. This is along the lines of any free food or savings advantage that comes into your life. The challenge is whether you can live on $1 a day, not whether you have to buy everything you eat.

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