Round about this time of year, when all the fruits and vegetables that have survived our dry Seattle summer are coming ripe, folks strolling the neighborhood start looking gazing at the cornucopia around us with wonder…and maybe a bit of hunger.
Every year, for example, I pass this apple tree on NE 42nd Street and cry a little bit over the waste: whoever owns it never harvests, and the apples end up rotting on the ground.
So what’s the etiquette? Are we allowed to pick fruit and vegetables grown in the “devil’s strip” (which is technically owned by the city, although the adjacent homeowner has the right and obligation to maintain it)?
Sometimes the answer is an obvious “no”. If someone has a well-tended garden of vegetables, just because it happens to be within reach of the sidewalk doesn’t give you pass to help yourself.
But sometimes it feels a bit more ambiguous: a tree heavy with ripe plums overhangs the sidewalk, or tart raspberries need to be pushed aside to make way: is it wrong to pop one in your mouth as you pass?
Well, thank you to the folks at 43rd and Meridian for replacing the ambiguity with generosity:
In year’s past, I’ve set aside a cherry tomato plant in my front yard, against the sidewalk, specifically for snackerby consumption. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my green thumb this year (if anyone can advise why this plant remained dwarfed, I’d be grateful):
Fortunately, my Braeburn apple tree fared a bit better (and was protected from coddling moths and apple maggots by netting until this weekend), so I’m turning that over to you all to enjoy. If you’re in the area of 4th Ave NE and NE 42nd Street, look for sign and enjoy: