Fruit Thinning & Recipes for Unripe Thinned Plums

This time of year, most common fruit trees need thinning as they tend to overproduce fruit. The fruit that is thinned is often inedible as it needs to be thinned before it is fully ripened. However, in the case of thinned plums, simply cooking them down can reduce their bitterness and transform them into a pleasant, tart addition to many recipes.

POP Field Trip: Truelove Seeds

I had the pleasure of visiting Owen Taylor at his farm within the Mill Hollow Farm in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Owen runs Truelove Seeds, a network of 20 farms that offers “rare, open pollinated, and culturally important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.” Among this network of seed growers are several POP orchard partner sites, including Sankofa Farm at Bartram’s Garden, Mill Creek Farm, and Pentridge Children’s Garden.

POP TIPS: Black Knot on Cherry and Plum Trees

Black Knot identification, symptoms, and life cycle Sometimes, in the springtime, cherry and plum trees may develop subtle, velvety olive-green swellings on their branches or twigs. If left unattended, these swellings turn into large, brittle, unsightly black galls that can kill the whole limb or even stunt the growth of the entire tree. These galls … Continue reading POP TIPS: Black Knot on Cherry and Plum Trees

Introducing POP’s Bilingual Rainbow Nutrition & Recipe Cards — Available for Download

In surveying our 62 orchard partners through our annual orchard partner survey, we heard that some fruit gets picked before it’s ripe and that some partners wanted more information to share with their community members on how to harvest, store, and prepare common or native fruits of their orchards. This feedback has been pretty common … Continue reading Introducing POP’s Bilingual Rainbow Nutrition & Recipe Cards — Available for Download

Supporting Threatened Pollinator Habitats & Introducing our Swarthmore Student Researcher Team

We here at POP are excited to share that we have been paired with 4 student researchers from Swarthmore College, who will be working with us over 8 weeks through POP’s School Orchard Program to create educational materials around building habitat for threatened pollinator species. Over the course of these 8 weeks, students will have … Continue reading Supporting Threatened Pollinator Habitats & Introducing our Swarthmore Student Researcher Team

2018 School Orchard Program Recap & A Look Ahead to 2019

In 2018, POP’s School Orchard Program continued to expand in offering unique, engaging, and hands-on learning activities for students, centered in 9 of 12 POP partner school orchards. In total, we offered 26 unique topical lessons, created 6 downloadable lesson and material packs for teachers to use in their classrooms, made 440 total student impressions … Continue reading 2018 School Orchard Program Recap & A Look Ahead to 2019

POPHarvest Program Update 2018-19

The POPHarvest gleaning program has taken a few turns and this year ventured into new fruiterritory, launching a new POPHarvestEd workshop series! The POPHarvest program, first piloted in 2014, is focused on picking and distributing fruit that would otherwise go to waste. These programs have taken two primary forms: distributing excess production from regional commercial … Continue reading POPHarvest Program Update 2018-19

Mason Bees: Philly’s Friendly Pollinators

You’ve probably heard the buzz about honeybees and how important they are to agriculture, but did you know that native bees such as mason bees are even better and more efficient pollinators of native crops? In fact, the species Osmia lignaria (pictured above) has been named the blue orchard bee for its recognized usefulness in … Continue reading Mason Bees: Philly’s Friendly Pollinators

2018 Orchard Partner Survey Summary

POP surveys all of our orchard partners at season’s end and we like to share what we’ve learned each year! Each year, we ask partners about their orchards, orchard challenges, orchard value, community involvement, yields, distribution methods, how we perform as partners, our educational offerings, and how to improve. In all, 52 of 62 POP … Continue reading 2018 Orchard Partner Survey Summary

Health Benefits of Orchard Fruits

As you might already know, POP’s community orchards are beneficial in a number of ways, providing: Beautiful neighborhood green spaces that provide opportunities for community gathering and engagement; A wide range of environmental benefits including providing pollinator habitats, sequestering carbon, and reducing stormwater runoff; Opportunities for micro-enterprise and hands-on food system and nature education; A … Continue reading Health Benefits of Orchard Fruits