Homeless in Vancouver: Time to start getting your fruit on!

Raspberries are right on time, ripe and ready to be picked all over Vancouver.

Blackberries and blueberries could be ready in two more weeks and apples and pears are at least a month away.

Blueberries and pears I’ve not seen in Vancouver but raspberries, blackberries, and apples are variously plentiful. There are also plum trees here and there, which bear delicious fruit in mid to late August.

And I’m not even considering tomatoes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, and all the other crops home gardeners are preparing to harvest. That produce is off limits. Them’s as sowed it gets to reap it!

Fruit that grows like weeds and...weeds

Thorny blackberry bushes truly grow all over the city—I think that once they get rooted they’re very difficult to gt rid of.

They can often be found on semineglected land. Stretches of the CP Rail tracks along the Arbutus corridor are lined with them—certainly from West 12th to West 16th Avenue.

For many years there was nearly a block’s worth of blackberry bushes east of the intersection of East Broadway and Rupert Street, on the south side, when East Broadway angles north and becomes the Loughheed Highway. I don’t see it on Google Maps so I don’t know why I’m even mentioning it.

July can also be the month for ripe figs.

Another binner told me about broad-leafed fig trees in Vancouver. I’ve never seen one but I’ve never looked either.

A good number of Mediterranean immigrants to Canada who settled in Vancouver, prospered, and bought houses, ended up planting fig trees so they could continue to eat fresh figs. Thus one area to find fig trees in would be East Vancouver, specifically “Little Italy” around Commercial Drive between Hastings Street and East Broadway.

A fellow who had his own fig tree in Coquitlam tells me it’s no certain thing that the trees will produce fruit from one year to the next but that when they do, the fresh figs are “awesome”.

Oh, and the brown figs are sweet but the green ones are more for cooking.

And there's all the apples no one gives a fig about

It would appear that most of the apple trees across Vancouver were planted purely for ornamental purposes and not for their fruit. I find this apparent fact odd because while I kind of like apples I consider the trees themselves immensely ugly.

For whatever reason though, history tells us that beginning in August the many apple trees across the city will produce a huge crop of edible fruit. Even if thousands of apples are picked and eaten that still leaves a majority to fall to the ground and rot.

The apples will be trampled, run over by cars, knock a few people off their bicycles, and otherwise go uneaten if not entirely to waste—the rotting apples must help fertilize the apple trees right?

While I said I like apples, I don’t like them a lot meaning I will only end up plucking a few off people’s trees. But given the waste that goes with apple trees, this is one kind of theft I wholeheartedly condone.

Fruits and veggies that are simply divine, supposedly

And last year a groundskeeper at a large Vancouver church was extolling the edible virtues of a berry growing on the grounds of his church.

He told me he’d been eating them for years and though he looked a little feral he was still alive. So I may try those this year.

That leaves those apparently delicious and nutritious dandelions, which grow everywhere like…well you know.

I’m told people in Italy commonly use them as a salad green—probably with fresh figs.

Yes. I would like an ice cream cone…in a cup please. Thanks I brought my own topping.
Stanley Q. Woodvine
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