Our Orchard & Vineyard
Teenagers planted an orchard on our church property more than 30 years ago as an Eagle Scout project, and it has grown to be one of our primary annual outreach efforts. Each year around the end of January, the fruit from the trees is harvested and the donated to the Contra Costa Food Bank to support neighbors experiencing food insecurity in our county.
There are 36 citrus trees on the property consisting of Washington Navel, Satsuma and Valencia oranges, two lemon trees, a few fig trees, and two grapefruit trees. There are also four apple trees, each of a different type, and one fig tree. Members from the church prune, water, and tend the trees throughout the year, and then a wonderfully intergenerational group of people, usually ranging from under age 5 to over 90, harvest the fruit. If you're interested in joining the effort of tending or picking, we can always use more help!
Oranges ripen and mature at different times in late winter and early spring; Satsuma’s right after Christmas, Washington Navel in January/February, Valencia’s in March/April. Apples ripen in August/September and figs along the same time frame. One of the lemon trees will produce a small quantity of fruit at two different times during a calendar year. The orchard will produce anywhere between one to two tons of fruit per season.
We are delighted and grateful to be able to tend a vineyard on our campus, next to our labyrinth along Kahrs Ave. While the vines are still relatively young, recent years have yielded a wonderful harvest: in 2021, we harvested more than 1,000 pounds of grapes! Aside from a few vines of delicious table grapes, the majority are crushed and made into wine to be blessed and shared at communion. The vineyard also gives us the wonderful opportunity to see the living example of a central symbol in scripture — walk by any time of the year to see the vines putting out shoots, growing huge and green, hanging heavy with grapes, or being pruned way back. It's a beautiful space for contemplation, reflection, and connection.