Ripe Near Me

Online platforms such as local forums or Craigslist are an alternative method of finding local foods, but they don’t tend to be a place to find wild edibles or fruit trees that are growing on public properties, so urban foragers looking for ripe local fruits rely on word of mouth (and many of them are unwilling to disclose their favorite locations) or local food maps, which can take quite a bit of work to put together.

However, a new web platform aims to change that, by making it much simpler to connect local foodies with local backyard growers, and to put more public domain fruit trees on the map so that people can put those fruits to good use.

Ripe Near Me, which is currently in beta, is a self-funded labor of love from developers Alistair Martin and Helena Martin, of Adelaide, Australia, and it was born from the realization that while there were plenty of citrus trees full of fruit scattered around their suburbs (which nobody was harvesting or eating), the grocery stores were full of not-so-local fruit for sale. They thought to themselves, “Why not have a site that allows foodies to connect with growers? Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get all our fresh food from the local neighborhood?”

Ripe Near Me users can sign up to either post produce or other local foods (such as eggs) that they are willing to sell, swap, or share with others, or to find local homegrown or wild food items for their own consumption (or both), which could serve to make local food systems stronger and more diverse and resilient.

According to the website, the goals of the platform are many, but in a nutshell, Ripe Near Me wants to “dramatically increase the quantity of urban and sustainably grown foods,” and to give foodies better access to local and seasonal foods. In addition to these admirable goals, the site aims to also provide an effective platform for growers to establish profitable micro-farms and backyard gardens, and to reduce the potential for food waste, which can be an issue in both home gardens and with neighborhood fruit trees or those on public property.

Like many startup ideas, it really takes a critical mass to make it work well, as without listings in any given area, there isn’t an incentive for people to use it, but the more people that register and start listing their own produce or mapping their local fruit tree locations, the better it is for all of the users. The founders urge people to add their produce now, even if they don’t yet have enough to share or sell: “As long as it’s growing, it belongs on RipeNearMe, and you can change the status to “ripe” later. Listing your produce early allows you to collect subscribers, which ensures that your excess doesn’t go to waste, and that you’ll have buyers lined up.”

Ripe Near Me is completely free to use, both for growers and for foodies, so there’s no disadvantage to participating, and it could have a great positive impact on local food systems, as well as possibly putting money back in your pocket.

Find out how you can help move the local homegrown produce movement forward at Ripe Near Me.

Hot Composting Apples

Under normal circumstance apples can be added to the composting as and when they are no longer suitable for eating and this includes the occasional windfall during the summer months. Chopping the apples will speed the composting process. However in the autumn, larger numbers become available together with the mushy pulp resulting from juice extraction a slightly different approach is needed to deal with the sudden influx of “greens” into the bin or heap. If creating compost heap the minimum size recommended is 3cu feet. Smaller heaps will breakdown more slowly and will need more frequent turning to keep the composting process working.

Where there are a lot of apples it is best to layer them with browns and continue making alternate layers of apples and browns until all the windfalls have been used. If you only have a few trees it might be better to collect the apples in some kind of storage container i.e. a bucket or bin so that you have enough to make several layers about four inches thick at the same time,. If possible other greens should be added at the same time as the chopped or pulped apples to introduce air spaces and variation into the green mix.

Creating the correct green brown ration is important so as to prevent the apples fermenting and producing an unpleasant smell. One part green to two part brown material is recommended.  .

Although autumn leaves are normally used to make leaf mold they do make an excellent component of the brown layer. Sawdust from a vegetarian pet, such or chicken can also be added. Consider adding shredded paper and a shovelful of finished compost from an adjacent bin,  plain garden soil or manure can be added to kick start the microbial activity that will turn the apple waste into quality compost.

As with most hot composting systems water the bin or the browns at the start of the process and at any time that it looks dry. Turn the compost mix to aerate it and cover with browns (shredded paper is a common choice) as this will reduce any smells from the bin and reduce numbers of fruit flies when the lid is removed or heap uncovered

For the first week the material should be turned daily to aerate the material ensuring that microbial activity heats the content. When turning the material move the material on the outside of the pile toward the center. This can be reduced as the effect decreases.

Continue to check the compost condition of the bin weekly. If it becomes to dry it will stop working while if too wet anaerobic bugs will take over and the temperature will fall and the smell will increase.  If dry add water a little at a time, if wet add more browns (e.g. dry leaves).  After two or three months the compost should be finished dark brown in color with an earthy smell and no apples identifiable.

Women in the Garden

Women in the Garden (French: Femmes au jardin) is an oil painting begun in 1866 by French artist Claude Monet when he was 26. It is a large work painted en plein air; the size of the canvas necessitated Monet painting its upper half with the canvas lowered into a trench he had dug, so that he could maintain a single point of view for the entire work. The setting is the garden of a property he was renting. His companion Camille posed for the figures. Monet finished the work indoors, and used magazine illustrations to render fashionable clothing.

Monet at this time was early in his career, experimenting with method and subject matter. His earlier paintings were successful at Paris Salons, but Women in the Garden was rejected in 1867 on the grounds of subject and narrative weakness. The Salon was also troubled by Monet’s heavy brushstrokes, a style which would, of course, become one of the hallmarks of Impressionism. A judge commented, “Too many young people think of nothing but continuing in this abominable direction. It is high time to protect them and save art!”

You can never appreciate the shade of a tree unless you sweat in the sun. – Author Unknown

Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail


  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 oz Pinnacle Caramel Apple vodka
  • 1 oz Rumchata
  • ice


Combine cider, vodka and Rumchata with a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds and strain into a glass.  If you wish, garnish with Caramel & Vanilla SwirlMallows.  You could also rim the glass with caramel or cinnamon sugar.

Ground Nesting Bees

Not all bees live in hives like honey bees do. In fact, 70% of all the 20,000 species of bees nest under-ground.  In North America, most of these ground bees become active in early spring. Nests of these bees are easy to identify above ground because of the conical piles of dirt with a large hole in the middle that serves as the entrance to the bee burrows.

One of the most abundant ground nesting bees in northeastern and midwestern region of North America is Colletes inaequalis. Even though this bee is solitary, meaning that every individual female builds her own nest, it is also a gregarious nester. Many females (hundreds and sometime thousands) build their nests next to each other. The nests are obvious above ground because of the conical piles of dirt with a hole in the middle. Colletes inaequalis has a strong preference for sandy soils on south facing slopes. Thus, if you have these conditions in your backyard, you may find these bees showing up every year where you live. Unlike social bees and wasps, solitary species are not aggressive insects even though females do have sting. These bees will not attempt to sting humans unless handled. Most activity at nest sites occurs in early spring as males are looking for females to mate (male bees cannot sting).

Besides C. Inaequalis, many other ground nesting native bees can be found in your backyard. For example, species of the bee genera Agapostemon, Andrena, Halictus and Lasioglossum are also very abundant in North America. All of these native bee species provide important ecological services that include pollinating many of the plants in your garden and nearby. Specifically, Colletes inaequalis and similar looking Andrena species are important pollinators of spring crops like apples, blueberries and cherries. Do not consider these bees as pests and strongly recommend avoiding the use of chemicals to control them. Pesticides are bad for humans and beneficial insects. Usually, using water over the area of the nest is enough to encourage the bees to look for a different nesting area.

Perennial Fall Planting

Why many plant perennials in the fall:

  1. Soil is warmer in fall than in spring, so roots get a good head start.
  2. You can still assess what you have in the garden. By spring, we forget and many plants have died back.
  3. Nursery plants are larger, and many nurseries have great sales.
  4. The soil is easier to dig and amend than our compacted, soggy spring soil.
  5. In Illiana you can plant almost anything except annuals in the fall.
  6. The weather is crisp, but not too cold to be outside.
  7. Nurseries are catching on to fall planting season and are stocking more plants.
  8. Seasonal rains will take care of most of the plant’s watering needs.
  9. Plant now and you’ll have time to spruce up other parts of the yard come spring.
  10. Planting spring-blooming bulbs, perennials and shrubs will bring gratification after the long winter.