Have you ever planted a fruit tree — then been both overwhelmed and delighted by the large amount of ripe fruit on the tree? Backyard Bounty is here to help.
Backyard Bounty operates with two individuals and one truck. Sarah Teal Axelrod and Armand Ignelzi are based in Flagstaff, and travel down to the Phoenix area to harvest citrus from a network of backyards across the valley. Customers hear about their work through word of mouth or door hangers. They were introduced to the idea by a friend, who would make trips down to the Phoenix area to pick citrus for himself and friends to eat.
The most challenging part of their operation is negotiating with customers who want the fruit harvested by a certain date. Armand and Sarah are proud of the amazing quality of their citrus. They carefully inspect each tree and its fruit to ensure that it is picked at peak ripeness. They want to ensure that the fruit is left on the tree to ripen for as long as possible.
Citrus is easier to transport than other fruits. Some market regulars may remember when they brought delicate and delicious peaches to the market last summer. They are always open to new sources of fruit, especially lemon trees. They welcome anything exotic, such as kumquats.
Sarah and Armand see opportunities to partner with others to process the fruit. Some of their ideas include creating frozen juice concentrate and salad dressings. Perhaps one day they will become a nonprofit; they see a need to expand, with more staff and trucks. They generously donate extra citrus to the local homeless shelter.