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

Posted on Categories Blog, Cooking & Preservation, Harvesting, Home, Plants, POPharvests, Recipes, School Orchards & CurriculumTags , , , , , , , , ,

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 to hear for us, as developing fruit on the tree inspires the natural curiosity (& hunger) of many, checking to see when the fruit is ripe and ready to eat!

In response to this, POP has developed 2 sets of bi-lingual Rainbow Nutrition & Recipe cards for use by community partners, teachers, and culinary educators alike  — focused on common fruits of the orchard (and ones likely to be found in grocery stores and some corner-store markets), as well as on native fruits of our region, and ones that are easy to cultivate and care for in small or home-scale spaces. Inspired by conversations with Penn State Nutrition Links’ nutritionist and educator Suzanne Weltman, these cards can be considered the first installment of other series of collectible recipe cards that be expanded by other organizations to include herbs and/or vegetables.

These cards also fit into POP’s CORE: Community Orchard Resilience Education series with POP CORE 3: Plants, Fungi, and What To Do With Them (offered twice yearly in March and September — check out our upcoming session on March 19th) covering how to make use of seasonal harvests and POPHarvestEd, now in our second year, which welcomes community teachers to lead workshops on under-known plants of the orchards with hands-on and take-home harvest, food and/or group medicine-making!

Children plant bare root strawberries along with POP Orchard Director Michael Muehlbauer at Casa del Carmen, last spring 2018.

In an effort to make our materials accessible to a wider community, we offer them in English and Spanish. We offer our gratitude to orchard partners Camille Crane of Casa del Carmen for translation assistance and Gabriella Vechio of the Master Gardener Pollinator Garden, Food Forest Orchard, and Edible Demonstration Garden at the Fairmount Park Horticultural Center for offering help with proofreading.

Gabriela Vecino is a Penn State Master Gardener trainee 2018-19, whose interest in native plants, pollinator habitats, and wild life refuges has inspired her to volunteer in three garden projects at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Originally from Uruguay, Gabriela moved in 2003 to Minnesota with her family where she lived for 5 years, and while working at the UofM learned about the extension programs and joined the community or growers! 

The cards have been uploaded to our Resource Pages for your use, and POP will be printing a run of the cards to use in our School Orchard program and available during tabling events for a small donation. We also plan to share these materials with other organizations working to offer nutrition programming in communities throughout the city.

Have a creative idea for you or your organization would like to make use of these cards in your programming? Tell us! We’d love to share your stories and experiences. Have a recipe to share? Email Education Director Alyssa Schimmel at to share your recipes and stories through our blog or printed materials.

This POP Blog Post was drafted by POP Education Director Alyssa Schimmel.  

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia:

POP History 2015 & Volunteer Highlight: Tony Dorman

Posted on Categories Blog, Home, POP Orchards, VolunteersTags , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“I get to plant a tree that a child could someday take shade under, play on, breathe easier, and eat fresh fruit because of it?  Sign me up! ”
-Tony Dorman, 2015 Golden Persimmon Volunteer

In honor of the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s 10th anniversary in 2017, we’re looking back at a different year in our history every month.  We’re also designating Golden Persimmon Awards for each year in recognition of the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers.

2015 planting at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, POP’s first ever raised bed orchard!
Philadelphia Orchard Project History: 2015
In 2015, POP planted its 1000th fruit tree and supported its 50th city orchard!  POP also co-sponsored the first ever full Permaculture Design Course held in Philadelphia and hosted Dave Jacke (author of Edible Forest Gardens) for a talk and a tour of POP orchards.  Our new POPHarvest program expanded, gleaning and distributing over 4000 lbs of fruit from sites in and around the city.  POP also published our long-awaited urban orchard weed identification guide and hired Tanya Grinblat as our new Development Associate.

POP ORCHARDS PLANTED in 2015:  Lea Elementary, Philadelphia Montessori Charter School, Casa del Carmen, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, and Tilden Middle School
2015 Media Coverage: WHYY Friday Arts Video 
2015 POP NEWSLETTERS: SummerWinter
2015 POP BOARD PRESIDENT: Brian Olszak

POP co-sponsored Philadelphia’s first ever full Permaculture Design Course in 2015 and Edible Forest Gardens author Dave Jacke participated in a tour of POP sites across North Philadelphia.


Tony Dorman first volunteered with POP in 2014 and is a dedicated member of POP’s Orchard Committee.  He serves as the lead orchard liaison for Tilden Middle School, Bartram High School, and Philadelphia Montessori Charter School.  Read more about Tony in his previous volunteer highlight post.

My participation with POP began with a desire to help children; thankfully, that has been a theme of sorts during my time with POP.  The first time I volunteered at a POP activity was at Bartram’s Garden (a hidden jewel of Philadelphia; please stop by there when you can) because the activity description said in part, “Come help us clean the garden and plant a fruit tree.”  The plant a tree part got to me. I get to plant a tree that a child could someday take shade under, play on, breathe easier, and eat fresh fruit because of it?  Sign me up!

When I was six or seven years old, there was a popular PSA depicting a Native American looking over a landfill as a single tear rolls down his cheek.  I remember thinking, “When I get older, there’s gonna be trash everywhere!”  POP’s mission is an extremely important one to me. Not only do the orchards transform neglected areas into those of beauty, the orchards create mini ecosystems that help to physically renew the areas that they’re in. Without the orchards, these areas would be that less livable.  POP’s orchards are truly a boon and a blessing.

I was quite happy when Phil asked me to be an orchard liaison to two schools, especially since one was on the same street where I lived; an urban area that is rife with trash and seemingly uncaring neighbors. That school had started to implement programs to improve student life; I think that their acquiring an orchard helped greatly with that process and Tilden Middle School is now a designated Community School with a direct connection the mayor’s office (in fact, Mayor Kinney planted a tree at the school during POP’s last work day there).  I don’t think that volunteering in a classroom would have nearly the impact that planting an orchard has. Watching students interact with the orchard and garden or teach other students garden facts is quite moving and profound.  That gives me hope that one day, “there won’t be trash everywhere” and Philadelphia will be a beautiful, bountiful city for all!

Golden Persimmon Volunteer Tony Dorman helping out at the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School in West Philadelphia.


SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia: phillyorchards. org/donate.

POP Partner Feature: Casa Del Carmen

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Volunteers gather at Casa Del Carmen after a productive day of orchard planting in 2016

Part of Catholic Social ServicesCasa Del Carmen is a bilingual, bicultural family service center in North Philadelphia that’s provided over 50 years of service to the Latino immigrant community in Hunting Park (4400 N Reese St, 19140). Last year, 21,000 people were impacted by Casa’s work in the spirit of ‘nuestra casa es su casa‘ (‘our house is your house’) ensuring that all clients have their basic needs for survival met with access to two food markets, a clothing bank, nutrition education, rent/mortgage and utility assistance, public assistance counselors, maternity education, ESL, and preschool offerings for young children.

Casa’s food program is a central component to their work, as administrator Chris Gale says, and their approach is unique. In partnership with the Coalition Against Hunger and The Green Light Market, only one of two in Philadelphia, Casa offers a food market for clients where they can select from fruits and vegetables grown in Casa’s backyard, frozen meats, and nonperishables. In fall 2015, Casa and partners took providing empowering food access one step further through partnering with the Philadelphia Orchard Project to turn what once was a grassy largely underutilized backyard garden into a fully realized orchard with fruit tree plantings, berry vines and bushes, and a perennial herb understory.

Although the orchard has yet to generate a sizable harvest, still being in its infancy, Gale says they anticipate the orchard being a major component of Casa’s nutrition program and food markets. “We’d like to see clients tending the orchard and being able to pick the fruit right from the trees.” Another way Gale sees the orchard space as integrated into Casa’s larger programming is through preschool program. “The children are already back there everyday because the playground is back there, but I dream of using the orchard as a living classroom, teaching the children nutrition and basic biology through the site.”

Staff members Janet DeJesus, Miguel Trigo, and John Hernandez have taken ownership of the site to make sure all is growing well in between quarterly POP visits to the site to check on the health of the plantings. Gale calls the orchard space “truly a greater Philadelphia effort” with estimates that nearly 100 volunteers from Villanova, Temple, Drexel, La Salle, Friends Central and the Junior League have helped to plant or maintain the site during days of service.

Resource tent for new mothers at Casa’s Community Baby Shower

“We’re still waiting for fruit,” Gale says, “but we’re very excited about the thought of harvests with the community.” In the meantime, clients can look forward to Casa’s other main programming including the Community Babyshower coming up on April 21st and again in August, where new and expectant mothers can tap into community resources and enjoy raffles, food, and music during the big celebration that’s held in Casa’s parking lot. To learn more about Casa’s work, visit their site here. 

This POP Partner Feature written by Education Director Alyssa Schimmel.

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia: