HOW FRUIT NETTED FRIENDS
When we bought our house a few years back, we liked all sorts of things about it. The location was ideal, the size was perfect, and the layout was great. It was in pretty good condition, and the work that it needed was well within our capabilities. But we never expected the immense value of the fruit trees in the front yard.
Actually, I should admit that the fruit trees themselves were a surprise. Not being all that up on fruit trees (or, well, trees of any kind), we didn't even realize we had fruit trees when we first purchased the house. About a month after we moved in, we noticed that the large tree that dominated the front yard appeared to have figs growing on the ends of its branches. So we picked one and, yes indeed, we realized we had a fig tree in our front yard. Two or three days after that, the doorbell rang, and it was neighbors we hadn't met yet. They introduced themselves, said that they loved figs, and asked if they could pick some off the tree. We already were overflowing with bowls full of figs, so we said sure. A connection made through figs.
Fall turned into winter, and winter to spring and summer…suddenly, we notice that the tree right by our front door appears to be sprouting fruit. Some of it's green, but it quickly turns into the undeniable purple of plums. We picked a few (literally) low-hanging fruit, and they were some of the sweetest plums we ever tasted. I ended up buying a fruit picker to get the higher-hanging fruit. Soon we had more plums than we knew what to do with, so we used them as friendly gifts for other neighbors. In exchange we've received all sorts of gifts in return.
Given that experience, we've actually met some of our other neighbors based on their fruit trees. The folks up the street have blackberry bushes, and the family down the street has a wonderful apple tree. We still haven't introduced ourselves to the people with the giant lemon tree, but they’re next on our list.
I've lived in a bunch of different places in my life, but I've never had such a good relationship with my neighbors. While there are probably a few reasons for this, I know our fruit trees have a lot to do with it. Because of those unexpected fruit trees, not only do we have some delicious fruit, we've also gotten to know a whole bunch of our neighbors who we probably never would have met otherwise.