Fruit frenzy: Your juicy guide to Claremont’s edible fruits

Four, tall orange trees stand next to a walkway.
Valencia orange trees line the walkway outside of Toll Hall at Scripps College. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

Walking around the 5Cs, you might have noticed the abundance of fruit trees, and might have even thought about picking a couple of fruits to take home. You might have wondered if the fruit was safe to eat, or where else on campus you could snag a freshly grown treat.

There’s no need to wonder anymore — here’s your juicy guide to the fruit of the 5Cs.   Thanks to Claremont’s sunny southern California location, there are plenty of different kinds of fruits growing here year-round, from citrus and grapefruits to pomegranates and avocados.

“The level of heat and moisture here are just right [in winter],” said Ronald Nemo, Pomona College’s grounds and landscaping manager. “We don’t get too cold. If it [was cold enough for snow], the orange would freeze, as well as other fruits.”

Pomona College Organic Farm manager Kate Miller also said that Claremont is an ideal spot for growing a diverse fruit portfolio — with a bit of help, though.

“Because of the mild climate in Claremont, we are able to grow a variety of trees from around the world; however, it is pretty dry, so most trees, especially the tropical trees, need irrigation or extra water.” 

A tall orange tree stands in front of a dorm building.
Valencia orange trees line the walkway outside of Toll Hall at Scripps College. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

The distribution of fruit trees is mostly concentrated at Pomona and Scripps College, according to Miller. As she mentioned, Scripps has made a map of edible plants on its campus, which lays out a clear distribution of fruits and their various ripe seasons. 

Joya Salas, Scripps’ landscape operations manager, provided more information from an insider perspective about specific citrus varieties and where to most easily find them. According to Salas, Scripps has about 30 varieties of edible plants on campus, 60 percent of which are citrus. 

“Valencia oranges are all along the south part of Toll Hall,” Salas said, while grapefruit and orange trees can be found in the backyard of Revelle House.  

“Another wonderful place full of kumquat trees is called ‘kumquat courtyard,’ which is outside the Dean of Students office,” she added. “The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Rose Garden also has a lot of mature tangelos and lime trees.”

If you just want to grab some wonderful fruits in one place, without roaming around multiple campuses, the Pomona College Organic Farm can meet your needs. 

The Farm is located in the southeast corner of Pomona’s campus with a 1.2-acre working farm area. It is divided into two parts: West Farm and East Farm, and each has a number of lush fruit trees. According to Miller, the Farm has a variety of fruits, including mulberries, apples, peaches, pineapple guava, jujubes and loquats.

Similar to the operation pattern of the Farm, the Scripps Student Garden is another student-run organization cultivating tasty fruits. 

Garden coordinators Emma Crownover SC ’22 and Sophie Perry SC ’22 emphasized that the group provides students with the space on campus to grow their own plants.

“Our goal is to provide growing opportunities for students to enjoy,” Crownover said. Right now, the group is planning to plant strawberries at the rose garden near Browning Hall during their weekly Friday meetings.

Dago Lopez, Pitzer College grounds and arboretum manager, said most fruit at the college isn’t normally picked by students, but instead heads to the college’s many eateries to be sold and used in recipes.

“Pitzer College only has a few fruit trees around the Grove House, but they try to go to our [various] cafés,” Lopez said.

Harvey Mudd College and Claremont McKenna College have the fewest fruit trees. CMC is mostly known for their vibrant strawberry tree fruit, which color the campus in the wintertime and are considered edible and non-toxic.

“CMC does have a ton of strawberry trees; [though] not the same as strawberries,” Miller said. “In November, it feels like most of the trees on campus are strawberry trees.”

Michael Barber, Harvey Mudd grounds services manager, said that Harvey Mudd has lemon, pomegranate and orange trees, with citrus being the most popularly picked snack. 

According to Nemo, oranges are already ripe now for this season, and Miller noted an abundance of spring citruses, mulberries and loquats ready to be eaten at the Farm. 

With all the fruit falling at the 5Cs, some fruits are left untouched — despite the many student snackers they attract. These unpicked or unused fruits are supplied to the colleges’ cafes or dining halls, and some of the fallen or rotten fruits are treated as green waste and composted.

“We ask visitors [to the Organic Farm] only take a little from each tree because we also have harvest needs that we need to meet, including [a] weekly lunch special with the Sagehen Café and farm stand,” Miller said. “Volunteers are welcome to take more as they are giving love and care to [the] space.” 

Salas also mentioned Scripps’ use of Revelle House persimmons at the school’s dining hall, which get made into persimmon bread for Scripps Tea.

The Scripps Student Garden makes sure to not let any fruit go to waste. 

“We [collaborate] with [The Motley Coffeehouse] and Malott Commons to make smoothies,” Crownover said. “We also usually eat [the fruit] ourselves. When pomegranates are blooming, we literally eat them during our meetings.”

For the rotten fruits, there are several environmentally friendly ways to deal with them. 

“We have green-waste facilities and compost all the fruits which have fallen into the soil or rotted on the tree,” Nemo said.

“There are a lot of people who take advantage of fruits on campus,” Salas said. “We hope more students can know where to find those fruits on campus. Most of them are accessible to 5C students, and they are healthy, fresh and free,” Salas said.

Every student is welcome to become an explorer of the wonderful 5C fruit world. There are plenty of fruits waiting for you to discover — enjoy. 

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