LETTER:Reader plum furious about fruit theft

After another long dry summer, the fruit on the Italian Plum tree out front of my old house on Ferguson Street was nearly ripe. Despite regular deep watering, due to the drought, it would be a rather small crop. But I could always count on a plum cake or two, and a few small precious pots of tart purple jam from the little tree that I’d planted over twenty years ago.

With the end of August nearing, I was eagerly anticipating the harvest and checking progress daily. Many plums were taken last year, so I had resorted to hanging a small sign out amongst the gnarly branches to try to prevent fruit-stealers — kindly requesting passers-by to please not pick the plums! Yesterday, I stepped outside for my morning ritual and discovered that all the plums were gone. Every single one had been taken.

I was shocked… and so disappointed.

After a whole year of anticipation, there would be no pleasure of gently plucking plump plums off slender stems. No serving slices of moist cake, or sharing some of those little pots of jam. I love my garden and spend much of my time planting and tending it. I have great neighbours and others passing by generally comment on the abundance of flowers and wild nature of the place, and I can’t imagine any one of them taking more than a small sample from the overhanging boughs.

But this is theft! Trespassing!

This was done openly and carefully, with no damage to the flowers and other plants crowded below. They waited until they were ripe, and then they came and picked the tree clean… I am angry.

It’s not easy for a fruit tree to produce a good crop. This spring with bees and other pollinators on the decline, I was anxious that there be enough warm days during the one week when the flowers are open for the bugs and bees to do their job… And as the fruit begins to ripen, there are always marauding animals and birds that take their share ~ but who knew it would be Humans that would do the most damage?

For someone who has not taken the time and care… done none of the work or paid the especially high cost of watering, to come and take the entire crop is thoughtless and selfish. I’m sure I’m not alone with this kind of complaint, and I suppose I should be relieved that my property wasn’t willfully vandalized… But what to do?

I called the OPP to report this larceny and was advised to get a surveillance camera.

Any other suggestions?

Jane Churchill