What do apples, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, citron, dragonfruit, figs, goji berries, grapes, grapefruits, kumquats, lemons, limes, lychee, macadamias, mandarins, muscadines, nectarines, olives, oranges, passion fruits, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, pummelos and raspberries have in common? They all grow on trees (or bushes, shrubs or vines, if you prefer). Further, all of these different kinds of fruit and nut trees (and more) will be on sale this Saturday at Rice University's Greenbriar Lot starting at 9 a.m. It will last until the final tree or vine or bush is sold.
The sale was created by and benefits Urban Harvest, the nonprofit Houston organization that's been harvesting healthy communities through education initiatives, community gardens, and farmer's markets since 1994.
Now in its 14th year, the sale is the largest in the nation. It unfailingly draws a large, determined crowd ("determined" meaning that the line starts forming at sunrise). Four years ago, mild weather lured a mass of people and 6,000 trees were sold in just four hours.
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Hence, those wanting to get the best pick of the trees (some will be available in very limited quantities) will want to arrive as early as possible, and with their own wagon, wheelbarrow or dolly for easy tree-transporting. If you attend or plan on attending, keep your eyes on Urban Harvest's Twitter feed -- they'll be keeping customers up-to-the-minute about which varieties sell out.
But even if the fig tree you're looking for sells out, there will be no such thing as a bad tree at the sale; the goal of the event is to offer "delicious, productive, easy-to-care-for fruits varieties that grow well in the Greater Houston Area."
Prices range from $10 to $100, and you can use cash, check or credit card.
The fruit sale section of the Urban Harvest website is a great resource, because it explains how and when to plant the trees and lists a wide variety of classes that the organization will be holding throughout the year in various locations to teach you how to care for, graft and prune fruit trees.