LEFT: Margaret Moore & Anita Marquez. The pair have been picking and providing free produce to neighbors at the corner of 15th Street and Maryland in West Sacramento
From the News-Ledger Feb. 9, 2011
By Steve Marschke News-Ledger Editor
fruit was free. But Margaret Moore and Anita Marquez would really like to have
the fruit basket back.
That’s the message from Moore and Marquez,
who live on the corner of 15 Street and Maryland Avenue. The pair have started
something of a neighborhood tradition, picking surplus vegetables and fruit
from their own gardens and the yards of friends, and putting the produce on the
lawn near the corner stop sign for passers-by to help themselves. Sunday night,
the bucket they used to display the fruit disappeared.
“We used the bed of a wheelbarrow,” said Moore. “It was totally
useless to anybody, it had no wheels, and it had a hole in it. We put a hole in
it to hold bunches of Raley’s bags that people could take and use for the
Monday morning, some lemons that had been
left in that “fruit basket” were gone, which was great, she said. But the
leftover wheelbarrow bucket was gone, too.
“We left it out overnight, because we had
some lemons left over,” said Moore.
“Somebody took it. We thought, gosh, if they would just bring the wheelbarrow
back, we’d sure appreciate it.”
The wheelbarrow bed was perfect for its task
because it was light enough for the two women to easily move around, and it
could sit up and display its wares to pedestrians and motorists.
The produce giveaway has become popular and
appreciated by neighbors, said Moore.
“Throughout the year, we put out lemons,
persimmons and cucumbers. We have put out tomatoes and squash, and one time we put
books out. The neighbors kind of grew accustomed to it.”
“We’d get little thank you notes, and once I
even got a bottle of Champagne,”
she added. “Sometimes I’d be out mowing the lawn and somebody would shout out,
‘Is the barrel coming out soon?’”
who is retired, said she has lived in the city for about 50 years off and on,
and was raised in the home she now resides in. The produce giveaway started
when some elderly friends asked for help with some of their harvest, and said
the pickers could keep some of what they picked.
“Plums come from Anita and lemons and oranges
come from me,” said Moore.
“Persimmons, apples and other different things come from different people.”
There’s no produce on the street corner right
now, said Moore,
because nothing in their repertoire is currently in season. But she and Marquez
hope to have their wheelbarrow back in time for the midsummer apple crop.