On Sunday, February 15th, 2015 the public was invited to come plant the first public fruit orchard in Santa Cruz! Located at Riverside Gardens Park (between San Lorenzo Blvd and Riverside Ave), the orchard was proposed by the Fruit Tree Project and is being organized with David Shaw from UCSC’s Common Ground Center with input from William Rubel and support from the neighborhood. The three year plan includes year one: pears and apples on either side of the compost bins, kept small and flat against the fence so the walkway is intact. We also planted 4 grapes along the arbor. In late 2016, we will be planting a much larger public orchard next to Mike Fox Skate Park. Stay tuned for several public soil improving sessions, starting after the first rains.
We worked with the city to install a drip watering line for the new orchard, and the trees will be maintained and pruned by the Fruit Tree Project and neighbors (like me!). The fruit itself will be free to the public. The blueberries in Riverside Gardens Park are the biggest and tastiest I have ever seen…
We are accepting donations for the trees themselves, and planted a historic pear that once stood in orchards on this land back in the days of the famous Riverside Hotel.
It’s a historic moment in Santa Cruz. Hopefully it will be just the beginning, and fruit orchards will soon be popping up all over the place, like the rail-to-trail line, or the river walk. Help plant a public orchard in your neighborhood!