Issaquah’s edible landscape

Enjoy street eats along Issaquah’s edible landscape

August 21, 2012

By Katie Larsen

A pedestrian walks under ripening fruit on plum trees in front of KeyBank. By Greg Farrar

Don’t go to the store to buy supplies to bake pies or can fruits — go to Northwest Gilman Boulevard.

 

More than 20 years ago, the Issaquah City Council decided to make an edible landscape when the road was redone. Today, more than 20 different fruits and nuts are available for the public to pick.

The tour begins just west of the Visitor Information Center and ends by the Taco Time area. Parking is available in any of the neighboring shopping centers. It is the only landscape in the area with the primary function of food production. The most common and available of these foods are apples.

“It is unusual for a municipality to plant something like this,” said Alan Haywood, city arborist and horticulturalist. “It is hoped that the benefits people get from them offset the maintenance and costs.”

Haywood said that most things are ready to pick at the end of July and some of the fruits, like apples, are still good to pick into October.

Al Erickson, former park manager for the city of Issaquah, said that the food value of different varieties is important to the community.

“We get some beautiful colors along the boulevard,” he said. “It’s probably the most fun, seeing folks walking along the sidewalk and eating an apple as they walk.”

Haywood offered etiquette and safety tips for picking. He encourages people not to climb the trees but instead, bring a stepladder to harvest. Also, don’t block the sidewalk. There are lawn areas to stand on while picking.

On the Web

Learn more about the Edible Landscape Tour, including where each food is on Northwest Gilman Boulevard, in the online pamphlet atwww.ci.issaquah.wa.us/ Page.asp?NavID=2357.

“We would also ask that people be careful with the trees,” he said. “We are there caring for the quality of trees.”

Of course, be aware of surroundings including traffic and bicyclists riding on the sidewalk.

“When it was done back in 1985, it kind of captured the history and heritage of the area,” he said. “It was also a fresh new idea of utilizing public space for edible landscaping.”

Other items to pick on the street are plums, prunes, cherries, blueberries, filberts, walnuts, pears, grapes and roses.

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