Gleaning – the process of removing abundant ripe fruits from citrus trees – has become a familiar event for Arcadia residents. From January until March, many neighborhoods collect their excess oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits and tangerines and donate them to local food banks.
The importance of timely gleaning was recognized after the discovery of roof rats in Arcadia in 2001. Arcadia’s Citrus Program came shortly after, a volunteer-led organization that helped collect citrus and distribute it to Valley food banks.
The program was suspended in 2015 after the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) was found in Yuma County, which led to a statewide citrus quarantine. The tiny ACP bug carries a bacteria called Citrus Greening, which ruins fruit and eventually kills the tree. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, ACP has the potential to devastate Arizona’s citrus industry.
While residents are on their own this year in picking citrus, there are options for the fruit. St. Mary’s Food Bank is partnering with Safeway and Shepherd of the Hills Church to host Citrus Saturday drop-offs.
CITRUS DONATION DROP-OFFS
Saturdays (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd) in February.
4750 E. Indian School Road
Shepherd of the Hills
5524 E. Lafayette Blvd.