Fruit tree harvest amid Colorado bear season

Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 00:58:13-04

BOULDER, Colo. -- People in Boulder are seeing a huge fruit harvest this year, but too much of a good thing can be bad.

Having an apple tree on your property would be great for things like having fresh apples to eat or homemade jam, but fruit trees can also be a bear magnet.

William Raup is harvesting the apple tree in his yard.

If he doesn’t get them off in time, they will rot, or the bears will be over for a feast.

This puts the bears and the people who live here in danger. 

“Every year, invariably I have more fruit than I have time to eat it, or family enough to eat it,” said Raup.

That’s where a group called Community Fruit Rescue steps in.

William gives them a call and volunteers come to help pick the fruit.

“Residents are overwhelmed with their harvest when a good year hits. All of this stuff is going to waste. That attracts bears in to the city. That’s not good for the bears. It makes a mess, and there’s a lot of food waste,” said co-founder of Community Food Rescue, Ethan Wealty.

So instead, the volunteers organize neighborhood harvests to get the fruit.

The group divides the apples into thirds, with one-third going to the homeowner, a third going to the volunteers, and another third going into the community.

The fruit is then split between schools, food banks, and even the bruised fruit goes to a wildlife sanctuary.

“We’re having hundreds of more residents register their trees and hundreds of more volunteers joining us, and we literally have a harvest every single day right now,” said Wealty.

He estimates up to 1 million pounds of apples are produced every year in Boulder. 

The group is also working with the public to teach tree owners how to create different things like applesauce, wine, fruit dehydration, and more in order to reduce the amount of fruit that needs to be rescued.

Community Fruit Rescue works with all fruit, and if you would like to volunteer or register your tree, check out their website here.