Have you ever wanted to scavenge for your own edibles? Maybe you passed a neighbors apple tree and saw rotting fruit on the floor or were in a neighborhood park and wondered if any of the berries were edible? If so, then Find Fruit is for you.
The application is very easy to use and lets you define your own filters including: location, the fruit type, if the fruit is in season, the maximum number of plants to display, and your search distance. It then pulls up a google map with locations of all the trees bearing fruit that match your criteria in your neighborhood.
I was pretty excited with the functionality but wanted to see if it worked in the real world – So I recruited some fellow bloggers to help me out. I sent Jeff Waldman, the genius artist behind Where’s Waldman, (his current project involves miniature doors, a Yale professor, and some really strong glue) out on a mission to the deep recesses of Chinatown, SF to find lemon trees.
Does Find Fruit work? I am happy to report that Jeff found not one, but two trees – right where the app said they would be. Unfortunately, April marks the end of the growing season for lemons, and the trees held no fruit.
My second partner in this drive-by fruiting business was none other than Nichole Gerard of The Daily Bun. It’s March Madness season over at her blog, and we’re not talking Duke vs. Michigan (she’s still smarting over the loss of her beloved Wolverines). I hear in this round the otters are facing off against hamsters in the battle of cutest baby animal. But I digress… Her mission (which she chose to accept) was to find a guava tree on the corner of Broadway and Fillmore in the heart of Pacific Heights. She also found the specified tree, but again no fruit.
Then on Wednesday, I ended up locking myself out of my apartment. It was a beautiful day out, so after taking the Muni over to Jeff’s house to get my keys, him and I decided to walk back to my place. We talked a little bit about this app, and I actually didn’t bring it with me. Well, we got to the cross streets of Buchanan and Hayes Streets and low and behold, we found a lemon tree and a clementine tree, both potted trees in front of someone’s house. I must admit, I did try to explain to Jeff all about the fruit picking etiquette that I learned from Neighborhood Fruit’s video on YouTube. Truth be told, we may not have followed all the rules, but our long walk was made even more enjoyable by the clementine we shared. I got home and checked the application and while it did not have the location marked, just the fact that we were now more aware of fruit in our neighborhood enabled us to enjoy our trip back to my place all the more.
As I started digging into the Find Fruit application and the Neighborhood Fruit website, I realized that they have built an awesome community, and they like to collaborate as much as we do here at Grown in the City. What I admire so much about this app is that it does not begin or end with the iPhone. Nope, the folks behind Neighborhood Fruit have a great website complete with a blog, the ability to share your fruit and search for fruit, and even a newsletter.
The Pros: what I like so much about the appication is that it demonstrates the power of the internet and its collaborative nature to serve an important function within the urban agriculture world. For only $.99 the application is so worth it, I would easily pay $5.00 for this application, just to support the good people over at Neighborhood Fruit.
The Cons: John over in DC didn’t find quite as many fruit trees as we did in San Francisco, although he did score the location of a sweet mulberry bush on P Street over near Dupont Circle that he told me he’s going to monitor so he can make some jam when the berries are in season. As with all user-generated applications, the usefulness of the app is based on the participation of the community in your area.
The Verdict: I hope you give the app a try, and help improve the data on it. Supporting such user-driven products and services will help bring the entire urban ag community one step closer. As I was told in an email correspondance from Oriana at Neighborhood Fruit: “I hope you will find the Find Fruit app useful.”
This post originally appeared on Grown In The City.