As summer approaches and backyard citrus trees are heavy with bright, nutritious fruit, Californians may be looking for ways to share their bounty with friends, neighbors and community organizations – but need to be sure to do so safely.
If your harvest is too much to enjoy on your own, consider donating fruit to neighbors, a local charity or a community food bank. The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program has developed tips for how to safely donate fruit to help limit the movement of the dangerous pest called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which can spread the deadly citrus tree disease, Huanglongbing (HLB).
• Find an Organization: There has been an increased demand for food assistance recently,
and your citrus can help. Reach out to your local church, food bank, or service organization to find out if they are accepting food donations or visit the California Association of Food Banks’ website and enter your zip code. It will provide a list of groups that will accept fruit donations. Food Forward also has a list of gleaning organizations in many areas of California. Gleaners can collect the fruit you don’t need and will donate it to hunger relief efforts in the area.
• Check Local Quarantines: HLB has been found in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Detections in the area have established quarantine zones which prohibit the movement of fruit that hasn’t been properly washed and/or still has leaves and stems attached. Quarantine zones restrict the movement of residential citrus from within zones that have HLB to new, unaffected areas. To see how close you are to an HLB-infected area, check out the desktop app from the University of California. Additionally, you can check whether you are located near an HLB quarantine zone by visiting the interactive HLB map provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Check the top “Active Quarantines” box only.
• Prepare the Fruit: Be sure to wash fruit thoroughly and remove leaves/stems and double bag plant material before removing it from the property. More tips are in our fruit donation best practices infographic.
Now is an important time to come together as a community. Whether enjoying your backyard citrus at home or sharing fruit as a kind gift, we all must work together to protect our citrus, while also supporting our neighbors during times of need.
Attachment: Citrus Donation Tips.pdf