‘Scrumping’ is the word for cheekily harvesting windfallen apples and other fruits from trees, often without official permission in days gone by. But today, this is being updated to legally find a wonderful way of reducing food waste, and provide free food for local communities.
Keep raw/dried apple away from children and those at risk of choking. Keep cores, seeds and pips away from pets (due to natural cyanide). Also remove them if feeding soft halved apples (or pears) to garden birds (who will drink the juice but leave behind toxic pips and seeds). If you grow apple trees, learn how to make your garden safe for pets and use wildife-friendly netting alternatives.
This is how it works: Say someone is elderly with a large garden, so can’t climb ladders to harvest lots of fruit that is falling from trees or bushes. Obviously wildlife gets to eat some of it, but a lot more just rots on the ground, and goes to waste. Scrumping projects get fit and healthy volunteers to harvest the fruits, then they take a third, the landowner gets a third (that they otherwise would not be able to enjoy). And bruised fruits etc get made into juice and jelly, and are sold locally to raise money.
Obviously there are safety and insurance issues to ensure people don’t fall from high trees. Abundance Network (Sheffield) has a free handbook to start your own network. This covers how to find volunteers and people with fruit trees, tools (tarpaulin and pole with hooks to shake the trees!), along with ideas on what to do with harvested fruit, how to transport it and tips on letting your community know of your new scrumping project!