You can't sit under your apple tree unless you gimme dem apples!
October 6, 2012 9:36 AM   Subscribe

How best to ask my neighbors if I can gather their apples?

I live next to a house that has a beautiful little apple tree in the backyard. From the couple of times I've seen the occupants of the house, I think at least a couple of early 20-something guys live there (this is a campus neighborhood).

I didn't ask about the initial haul of apples in September, because I thought - well, it's their tree, maybe they want them. Last week, someone came by to mow and clean up the yard, and the whole load of apples went straight into the dumpster out back. That was kind of sad.

There's still quite a few good apples left on the tree, and some on the ground, so I'd like to ask the neighbors if I can harvest them.

This is complicated by the fact that these guys don't ever seem to be home (I've gone over and knocked a couple of times) - so I'd like to leave a note.

So - what kind of note from a neighbor would make you more amenable to apple sharing?

Note : I can't just go over and get the apples, they'd have to let me in - their entire back yard is surrounded by a 7 foot high wooden fence.
posted by HopperFan to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Hey guys, My name is Hopperfan, I live next door. I like your fruit tree, can I have some of your apples? I'll bake you a pie."
posted by bensherman at 9:41 AM on October 6, 2012 [13 favorites]

Toss your email/phone into what bensherman has said, so you can coordinate when they can let you in.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you offered me pie, you could pick all the apples you wanted.
posted by rtha at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

If they're never home, write them a note with your contact info and drop it into their mailbox. Or stare out until you see them entering or leaving the house (which is what my older neighbors did when they wanted me to now my front yard). Note, the second method is marginally less creepy if you've met and know each others' names.
posted by ethidda at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2012

Yes, a note: Hi neighbors. I live next door and have noticed you seem to have a surplus of apples. Would you mind if I came by at some point to take some of them off your hands? Can you suggest a couple times when you'd be available or just give me a call at ###-#### when it's convenient for you? I'd be happy to bake you an apple pie with your delicious looking apples!
posted by ms_rasclark at 9:47 AM on October 6, 2012

Just be sure to include your first and last name in any note if you've never met. I always find it creepy to get notes from neighbors without names.
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

We just killed our apple tree, because it left rotting apples all over the shop, and they smelled bad. Had anyone asked for them, we'd've been happy for them to collect them.

I think "May I please have some of your apples" would probably do it.

We recently got a nice curry out of our neighbours for a bag of lemons (their offer), so perhaps a dish of some description, if you think they need buttering up?
posted by pompomtom at 10:04 AM on October 6, 2012

We had two apple trees growing up. Any and every time a neighbor asked, we said to help themselves. I really think if you ask nicely, they will say, "of course".
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:25 AM on October 6, 2012

If any drop into your yard, you are entitled to them.
posted by brujita at 12:00 PM on October 6, 2012

Yes,you can collect the ones that may land in your yard, but an Apple is much better picked than picked up. The pie gambit is an excellent idea.
posted by scottymac at 12:26 PM on October 6, 2012

An apples that fall in your yard, or on public property (like sidewalk, streets and such) are free for the taking. In the old english common law any you could reach from the public area could be picked by anyone (this isn't really accepted here in the US but if it ever came to it I bet the court would follow this precedent). I have been the guy with way, way too many apples and even posted on craigslist to come get what you want and helped them pick. Just say hey and I bet they will be thrilled to let someone else do the cleanup even without the pie.
posted by bartonlong at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2012

Hi Neighbor,

I live next door to you at (_________). I noticed you have apple trees on your property. I love apples and noticed that the last time you had xxx company service your yard, the guys threw everything (including the apples ) into the dumpster. I'd be willing to maintain your yard for the months of (_____) if you'd allow me to harvest the apples. If this is amenable to you, you can contact me at (______).

Take care,

posted by LuckySeven~ at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2012

You don't need to make a big deal of this - it is best if you can ask them directly (i.e. they don't need to do anything, even call you back), but otherwise just leave a note with your name and number asking for the apples (Hi, I'm your neighbour. I noticed your apples are going to waste. Would you mind if I harvested them?).

I knock on doors all over my town asking people if I can harvest their apples. I don't think I've ever had anyone so no, unless they were planning to harvest the apples themselves. You don't need to offer pie or anything in particular as most people are happy not to have to pick the rotten apples up off the ground.
posted by ssg at 6:07 PM on October 6, 2012

Update : as I was writing out the note yesterday, I thought I heard voices over there - so I zipped straight over and knocked. One of the guys came to the door, and I essentially said ""Hey, I'm your neighbor, my name is Hopperfan, I notice you have a lot of apples and had to throw a bunch away last time, would you possibly allow me to harvest some?"

He was...a bit odd. I don't know whether he was just taken aback, or what - instead of saying "Hi, I'm Joe Schmo, sure, you can have some apples" - it was more like " right now?"

So I kind of laughed and said no, since the game was going to be on soon (big college town), maybe tomorrow? He made some agreement along the lines of "Yeah, ok."

I didn't get over there today, since I got back late from an impromptu hiking trip - but maybe I'll leave a follow-up note now with my contact info and suggest sometime this week.

Sadly, none of the apples fall in my yard.
posted by HopperFan at 7:39 PM on October 7, 2012

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