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Carbon Offsets for Urban Trees Are on the Horizon

Carbon Offsets for Urban Trees Are on the Horizon
Austin, Texas, and King County, Washington, are testing carbon credits for planting and protecting urban trees.

The evidence is in: Urban trees improve air and water quality, reduce energy costs, and improve human health, even as they offer the benefit of storing carbon. And in cities across the country, they are disappearing.

A recent paper by two U.S. Forest Service scientists reported that metropolitan areas in the U.S. are losing about 36 million trees each year. The paper, by David Nowak and Eric Greenfield, was an expansion of the same researchers’ 2012 study that found significant tree loss in 17 out of the 20 U.S. cities studied.

This arboreal decline is happening even in some areas that promote “million-tree” campaigns, Arbor Day plantings, and street-tree giveaways. Cash-strapped municipalities just can’t find enough green to maintain the green. Additionally, many cities are adjusting to population booms, and to temperature increases and drought due to climate change—both conditions that can be hard on trees (while increasing their value as sources of cooling and cleaner air). There’s also a growing recognition of the inequity of tree-canopy distribution in many cities, with lush cover in wealthy neighborhoods and far fewer trees in disadvantaged areas.

To find more funding for urban trees, some local governments, including Austin, Texas and King County, Washington (where Seattle is located), are running pilot projects with a Seattle-based nonprofit called City Forest Credits (CFC). The nonprofit is developing a new approach: generating funding for city tree canopies from private companies (and individuals) that wish to offset their carbon emissions by buying credits for tree planting or preservation.

The vast majority of forest carbon credits worldwide have been issued for trees in tropical rainforests and other forests far from urban areas. A study released last year of the forest offsets in California’s cap-and-trade program found that they are effective at reducing emissions.

A view of the Garcia River Forest near Longvale, California. Owned by the nonprofit Conservation Fund, the forest provides carbon credits to private companies and public entities seeking to offset their emissions. (Peter Henderson/Reuters)
The new credits aim to quantify not only the carbon benefits of urban trees, but also rainfall interception, energy savings from cooling and heating effects, and air-quality benefits. CFC has no role in marketing or selling credits for specific projects, but maintains the standards (protocols) and credentialing for other organizations that sell them. A third-party firm, Ecofor, verifies compliance for tree-preservation projects. Tree-planting projects are either third-party verified, or, for smaller projects that cannot afford that, verified by CFC with peer review, using Google Earth and geocoded photos.

To be eligible for the credits, city tree projects must follow protocols created specifically for urban forests—rules governing such specifics as the location and duration of a project and how the carbon will be quantified.

The new credits “are specifically catered to the urban environment and the unique challenges and possibilities there, so they differ from traditional carbon credits,” said Ian Leahy, director of urban forestry programs at the non-profit conservation group American Forests, and a member of the CFC protocol board.

“I think the work is innovative and potentially game-changing,” said Zach Baumer, climate program manager for the City of Austin. (Baumer also serves on the protocol board for CFC.) “To harness the market to create environmental benefits in cities is a great thing.”

The City of Austin aims to be carbon neutral in government operations by 2020. To get there, it has been reducing emissions through energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative fuels, and hybrid and electric vehicles. But the city will still need offsets to claim neutrality.

If governments and businesses choose to purchase these credits, they could help fill that gap, and they can keep their dollars local. Austin is running two pilot projects this year with CFC: a riparian reforestation project near a creek and a tree-planting project on school-district land. The City of Austin is purchasing the credits for both projects from the nonprofit TreeFolks, via CFC.


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The leaves on trees frame a woman who stands at the fence around the reservoir in Central Park in New York City.
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What Are Trees Worth to Cities?
APR 21, 2016
The fact that credits can cover both stream-side plantings and trees on school property illustrates the complex task of developing a city credit—the protocols and quantification methods must work for the disparate tree species and stewardship strategies of an urban forest, in contrast to the more controlled setting of an industrial plantation.

CFC is eager to road-test the protocols in Austin, said its founder and executive director, Mark McPherson, a Seattle lawyer and businessperson who has dedicated pro bono hours throughout his career to city tree issues. “Even though you have a national drafting group that put the protocols together, that brings together lots of expertise, they’re still cooked in the lab, if you will,” he said. “They have to be tested in the real world.” The effort is being helped by McPherson’s older brother, E. Greg McPherson, a prominent scientist in the field of urban forestry who helped develop the protocols.

King County
Another piece of the puzzle is a pilot project in King County, where a new land conservation initiative (LCI) targets protection of 65,000 acres, spanning urban areas to farmland. “We really want to maintain this intact landscape—what I’d call our natural infrastructure—that is the foundation of the quality of life we have here,” said Charlie Governali, the land conservation projects manager at King County’s Department of Natural Resources & Parks.

King County has been working with CFC over the last year, piloting a carbon program to help protect about 1,500 acres of currently unprotected and threatened tree canopy in and around urban communities. The county will consider expansion to a full-blown program by the end of 2018. Governali said there are already businesses interested in buying credits.

One of the first commitments made through CFC is a planting project on a rare parcel of open space in the City of Shoreline, just north of Seattle, funded by Bank of America through American Forests.

According to a study by the nonprofit Forest Trends, in 2016, $662 million globally went toward the purchase of carbon offsets for the protection or restoration of forests and other natural landscapes. The usual model is that for-profit carbon project developers work with landowners to qualify large forests for credits. Doubters have questioned whether city trees offer enough scale to be worthwhile, McPherson noted. “Carbon developers are thinking they want to lock up 10,000 acres of forest land, so they don’t see the scale or the volume in what we’re doing.”

But Governali said that for King County, the carbon protocol offers something different—a way to protect a lot of urban green space cumulatively by selling credits over time, and for many small green spaces.

“Compared to one additional tree left standing in a far-off industrial forest, each additional urban tree we protect has an outsized human impact.”
Urban credits will be expensive—many times what a commodity credit for carbon might cost. Urban land is not cheap, and urban trees are costly to plant and maintain compared to those on forest land.

However, urban trees offer more public benefits. “Compared to one additional tree left standing in a far-off industrial forest, each additional urban tree we protect has an outsized human impact,” argued Governali, because these trees bring cooling on hot days, better air quality, and even improved mental health. Finally, he noted, the sale of carbon credits from urban trees can help a municipality buy the underlying land and make it a public park, “a place for families to gather, relieve stress, get some exercise, relax, and for children to play and learn.”

At the outset, the work adds to already full urban-forest workloads and stretches budgets, at least until credit revenue from buyers can support the programs. “We’re good at planting trees, but documenting the work to create an official carbon credit is new for us,” said Austin’s Baumer. However, generating credits is one more way to stall or reverse tree loss at a time when people are just starting to understand how critical trees—whether elms, oaks, Douglas firs, or cedars—are to a city’s health and economy.

About the Author
Maria Dolan
Maria Dolan is a Seattle science and environment journalist who has written for Smithsonian, Slate, Seattle magazine, and other publications.

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Why Street Trees are so Essential for our Cities
Posted in Akron, Dorwart, Top Story
Jun 12, 2018
Street trees are often taken for granted and overlooked. But in Akron, Ohio, they’re a mainstay of the urban landscape. Named a 2015 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, Akron received the designation due to its commitment to urban forest management, led in part by City Arborist Bill Hahn.
In 2015 alone, the city planted over 2,000 trees and over 3,000 seedlings, in addition to pruning nearly 3,500. And every Arbor Day in Akron, thousands of saplings are distributed to locals by nonprofits and even MadTree Brewing Company (living up to its name).
In fact, the city of Akron, Ohio, is home to over 55,000 street trees. And if you want to know where to find the very best ones, just ask Leah Heiser, the Flowerscape director at the 37-year-old organization Keep Akron Beautiful—a nonprofit whose mission, Heiser says, is “to enhance the quality of lives in Akron through beautification, conservation education, and removing litter and graffiti.” Through the Flowerscape program, Heiser manages and cares for 32 public gardens throughout Akron.
Street trees aren’t just attractive, they also provide a myriad of benefits for our neighborhoods and cities.
Her favorites are the variety of trees in Alexander Park, the 60-year-old maple tree on West Market Street near the Keep Akron Beautiful office, and the London planetrees on High Street across from the Akron municipal building. London planetrees, Heiser says, are ideal and commonly used for city streets: “It looks exactly like a sycamore tree,” she explains, “but requires half as much water, and it’s extremely sturdy.”
To some, street trees might seem like an attractive but ultimately unnecessary urban feature. When we walk our streets, many of us—especially those of us lucky enough to live in places splashed with green and lined with flowers—probably take urban trees as a given. Whether they hang over our heads as we bike along the sidewalks or line the edges of pocket parks, trees aren’t usually given much attention or respect.
But ample research indicates that that’s a mistake, as Sarah Kobos wrote last year in “The Magic of Tree-Lined Streets.” Street trees provide plenty of pragmatic benefits in terms of urban planning and environmental wellness, such as shade from heat and relief from humidity, making streets more walkable and bikable and lowering the average electricity bills of surrounding households. They also lower the average driving speed, making roadways safer for pedestrians and drivers alike. There’s even evidence that they improve the health of nearby residents, lower crime rates, and drastically increase property values in an area.
Heiser adds that street trees are essential to a city’s environmental health. They improve air quality and decrease the circulation of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and ozone. “They’re extremely important,” she says of urban trees. “They help beautify the city, help reduce urban heat, help reduce stormwater runoff, clean the air, all those really wonderful functions.”
Horticultural variety, says Heiser, is essential to ensure when selecting trees for urban streets. “You want to stay away from monoculture and promote variety in order to prevent infestations,” she explains. And though this factor isn’t as essential to her personally, she notes that cities generally look for low maintenance trees that don’t require much water or consistent upkeep.
Tree selection also has to be based on the specifics of a particular urban environment. “My overall goal,” Heiser says, “is creating healthy ecosystems that have longevity, rather than instant gratification. I’m focused on creating multifunctional green spaces that are not only beautiful for the community, but also serve as wildlife habitats and food sources for local wildlife.” When planning tree planting in Akron, Heiser looks for gingkos, pears, birches, white pin oaks, river birches, and “native trees that support local wildlife. They grow so well in our environment, without a lot of leaf litter.”
As for Heiser’s plans for the landscaping in Akron, she hopes to add more trees to the Flowerscape sites and to increase the overall variety of trees Akron has to offer. “We want to create more fluidity in our green spaces in the downtown area,” she explains, adding: “We have lots of pocket parks, but we need more of them, and more connectedness between them.”
For Heiser, the value of trees and green spaces in urban environments goes beyond pragmatics into a philosophy of life and the rich history of the city of Akron. “Our history is based off of the canal, and we have a really cool opportunity to beautify the canal area and to link our history to our present through a green space.”
Moreover, incorporating trees into the urban environment, Heiser argues, fosters a greater respect for nature and stirs our innate instincts to connect with it. “We don’t spend a lot of time in nature anymore, so it’s hard to reconnect with it, and we don’t always know how,” she says. “We have a chance to foster that natural respect with interactive green spaces.” The humble street tree presents an opportunity to do just that.
(All photos courtesy of Leah Heiser)
The Magic of Tree-Lined Streets
Whether you care about the environment, property values, public health, or your city’s bottom line, you can make your town stronger by planting trees.
Oct 30, 2017
Planting the Seed for an Urban Forest
John Thomas is a Strong Towns member who believes trees are a vital part of any urban landscape and he’s been working to get his town of Iowa City to plant more of them.
Mar 2, 2017
Laura Dorwart
Laura Dorwart has written for The New York Times, SheKnows, Bustle, Bitch, VICE, Catapult, McSweeney’s, and HuffPost, among other outlets. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Antioch University and was a Fletcher B. Jones Dissertation Fellow at UC San Diego. She lives in Ohio.
This essay is part of an ongoing engagement with Akron, Ohio, supported by the Knight Foundation. Learn more about it here.

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Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest

A rendering of Barcelona’s planner green corridor network, showing the enlarged park at Plaça de les Glories Catalans at its heart. Ajuntament de Barcelona

The city is planning a major green makeover to combat the heat island and create a more welcoming place for humans and animals alike.

When a city needs green space, but it’s all out of room, what can it do?

It’s an issue that many older, denser cities are facing as they try to make themselves more amenable to their citizens and the environment. For Barcelona, this challenge requires especial ingenuity. Take a walk around what is one of Europe’s most densely populated city cores and you’d be forgiven for pronouncing the place full.

With an intense knot of historic masonry at its heart, Spain’s second city doesn’t display the most obvious potential as a future green paradise. But it badly needs new green spaces to battle its heat island effect, manage air and noise pollution, and generally improve citizens’ quality of life.

That’s why, on Monday, the city nonetheless rolled out a paradigm-shifting re-greening program, one that will double the number of trees in the city, increase park space by two thirds, and give each citizen an extra square meter of green areas. The urban plan, which will deliver 108 acres of new green space by 2019 and over 400 acres by 2030 is a model of ingenuity that could serve as a model for other cities.

Barcelona’s problem is not that it currently lacks parks. Its Parc de Collserola, which extends out from its western suburbs, covers a vast 80 square kilometres. The problem is that its green space is very unevenly distributed. Almost all of Barcelona’s larger parks are on the slopes rising up to the modest mountain range that backs the city. This works well as a weekend getaway and general backdrop, but they’re far from the city’s centers of activity.

In its core, Barcelona is built up more or less to the last square inch, with a network of historic streets and alleys supporting a population density greater than Manhattan’s. This area’s sea of buildings is sometimes softened with avenues of trees, small gardens, and one modest but beautiful park—but it can still feel heavy-aired and claustrophobic on Barcelona’s many hot days.

View from the Parc dels Tres Turons, located in the hills behind Barcelona’s city center. (Ajuntament de Barcelona)

This imbalance may partly contribute to major differences in temperature between the city’s center and its periphery. Temperatures are typically up to 7 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) higher in the old town than in the city’s greener, higher suburbs. Cities on the Iberian peninsula have always adapted carefully to intense summer heat. Streets stay narrow to provide shade, while south-facing windows often stay covered with awnings and shutters in the hotter months to keep interiors cool without automatic resort to air conditioning. Still, in a city where summer highs already regularly reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, climate change will see Barcelona only get warmer, drier and potentially more uncomfortable. Plans to green the city are thus not merely about creating a more pleasant-looking urban environment—they’re an essential step toward ensuring that inner Barcelona stays liveable in summer.

No major park can be carved out of an environment this densely built, but the city nonetheless plans to transform its core into a blooming mosaic of plants and leaf cover. The city has found space for five new gardens, which will ultimately be linked up to existing open spaces with lush new corridors of greenery that will create a seamless habitat for urban fauna. Green roofs will soften the sun’s glare, creepers will extend across bare walls, and temporary gardens will squat on sites waiting for construction, cooling and freshening their surroundings.

Barcelona’s green corridor network as it will appear when complete. The dark green land in the top left is the Parc de Collserola, which stretches from the city far out into the surrounding region. (Ajuntament de Barcelona)   

The five new gardens, many of which are already under construction, are a lesson in finding space where there doesn’t appear to be any. The largest one will spring up around a major city square; the land used to belong to road traffic, but those cars are now being diverted into nearby tunnels. A small park was already created at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, and by burying elevated roads that currently criss-cross the space, the city has found a way to greatly extend it and make the resulting oasis much calmer.

Another green space will be made—controversially—by clearing away a large courtyard block in the city center that is currently partially filled by squatted, single-story 1920s workshops. A third public space will be created by opening the lush, mature 7.5-acre garden of a newly created house museum to the public. A fourth parkwill be opened on what is currently a small, scrappy piece of ex-industrial semi wasteland in the hinterlands behind the city’s main container port, and a fifth will be created as part of a long-stalled but newly revived redevelopment of an outlying barracks.

An already constructed interior courtyard garden in the Example District. (Ajuntament de Barcelona)

Arguably the biggest change isn’t from the parks, but from the policies designed to connect green spaces into one leafy network. Ten large interior courtyards in Barcelona’s Eixample district will be planted with trees, while 10 city squares will get parking restrictions that allow for more plantable area. New or enlarged avenues of trees will thread this network together along major streets with surfaces that are more permeable to rain, so that birds and insects can spread across a seamless habitat.

If Barcelona seems especially keen on these corridors, it’s partly because they have already been tried and proved a success. In 2000, the city opened a long, slender park along the banks of the river Besós, a formerly filthy stream passing through industrial lands in the city’s northeast. Since being cleaned up and partly reopened to the public (some areas are protected wetlands), the river banks (viewable here) have thrived with plants suited to brackish water while the river itself is now alive once more with eels, frogs, and terrapins.

How the green corridors could look at ground level.Ajuntament de Barcelona

Back in town, the city is also stumping up a lot of cash to promote green roofs. The city has just called for applications for 50 bursaries of €1,500 to create greening plans for roofs across the city. The top 10 of these submissions will be eligible for grants of up to €100,000 per roof, while elsewhere the city will get new bird and bat boxes, rooftop hives, and insect hotels. Creeper will also be planted and trained across bare walls.

Taken individually, all these microprojects are tiny drops in the bucket. Together they will work to form a flood, creating a future Barcelona that is greener, fresher, more sustainable, and more humane.

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Cities Should Think About Trees As Public Health Infrastructure


Cities Should Think About Trees As Public Health Infrastructure

Planting trees is an incredibly cheap and simple way to improve the well-being of people in a city. A novel idea: Public health institutions should be financing urban greenery to support well-being and air quality.

Cities Should Think About Trees As Public Health Infrastructure
“It’s not enough to just talk about why trees are important for health.” [Photo: Claudel Rheault/Unsplash]

Think of a tree-lined street in the midst of a busy city. It feels like something of a treasure: hushed, cool, and sheltered from noise and sidewalk glare.

These leafy streets cannot afford to be seen as a luxury, argues a new report from The Nature Conservancy. Trees are sustainability power tools: They clean and cool the air, regulate temperatures, counteract the urban “heat island” effect, and support water quality and manage flow. Yes, they look pretty, but they also deliver measurable mental and physical health benefitsto concrete-fatigued city dwellers.

So with evidence to back up all the benefits of urban greenery, TNC set out to answer, in this report, the question of how cities can develop innovative financial structures and policies to plant more trees.

Urban trees remove enough particulate matter from the air to create up to $60 million worth of reductions in healthcare needs. [Photo: Flickr user Helen Alfvegren]

It’s a particularly pressing question now, because despite overwhelming evidence testifying to the environmental and health benefits of urban trees, their presence is declining in cities across the U.S. Around 4 million urban trees die or disappear each year, and replanting efforts have failed to keep pace, even though a 2016 study on California from the U.S. Forest Service found that every $1 spent on planting trees delivers about $5.82 in public benefits.


Because urban trees are often slotted into the “luxury” or “nice to have” category in city budgeting decisions–certainly less prioritized than public safety and infrastructure maintenance–funding is often inadequate, and fails to treat trees as a long-term investment, and certainly not one that can deliver health benefits. The standard rate of investment in trees is around one-third of a percent of a city’s budget, says Rob McDonald, TNC cities scientist and lead author on the report. “It’s not enough to just talk about why trees are important for health,” McDonald says. “We have to start talking about the systemic reasons why it’s so difficult for these sectors to interact–how the urban forestry sector can start talking to the health sector, and how we can create financial linkages between the two.”

TNC estimates that coming up with the capital necessary to maintain our current urban canopy, and expand it to the point where it creates consistent health benefits, would require an annual investment, on average, of $8 per person–a sum that would just about double current municipal tree-planting budgets. That figure is hypothetical and meant to suggest not that funding for trees should actually come from U.S. residents, but that the project is well within the scope of affordability.

What if, McDonald asks, that funding could come from the health sector? A 2013 study found that urban trees remove enough particulate matter from the air to create up to $60 million worth of reductions in healthcare needs at the city level. If public health spending in cities increased by just 0.1% or $10 per person, that would create enough public investment to finance the maintenance and expansion of urban forests and deliver the resulting health benefits. Again, this is just a rough model, but the case for treating trees as infrastructure that supports public health, and eventually could reduce the need for spending in that sector, is strong.

“We have to start talking about the systemic reasons why it’s so difficult for these sectors to interact–how the urban forestry sector can start talking to the health sector, and how we can create financial linkages between the two.” [Photo: Flickr user Veni]

There’s a wrinkle in this idea, McDonald says, and it derives from the fact that while cities are the agencies that pay for trees, they do not necessarily oversee health spending. That often falls to the state, or large local insurers. “But one big goal of this report is to get a variety of health agencies to see that they should be participating in the urban greening conversation,” McDonald says. In fact, the Affordable Care Act has created a $16 billion prevention fund to be funneled into communities working on widespread health-supportive initiatives; urban trees, McDonald says, could fall under that purview. And Kaiser Permanente, a large insurer in Northern California, announced last year a $2 million investment in public parks in low-income communities in the Bay Area.Diversifying funding sources for urban greenery–and casting trees as a health investment–could also begin to close the socioeconomic gap in access to parks and green space, too. A 2013 UC Berkeley study found that compared to white people, black people were 52% more likely to live in sparsely shaded, and consequently, much hotter, parts of the city, and have less access to green spaces. While initiatives like New York City’s Million Trees NYC have made a concerted effort to create more equity when it comes to green space in the city, often, trees are added to neighborhoods only at the behest of community groups. Those with more financial resources, McDonald says, are often more likely to make and be granted those requests.

Creating greener cities cannot be the responsibility of the health sector alone; McDonald says it will be crucial for urban forestry departments to more fully integrate the health benefits of their trees into messaging and goals in order to break down city agency silos and communicate more effectively with urban health and planning departments. And of course, as more and more cities develop strategies to create resilience against climate change, a healthy urban canopy will be a hugely necessary component.


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The Fruit Bowl still fresh as ever at 70

STOCKTON — A lone eucalyptus tree, more than 100 years old, still stands on the edge of Waterloo Road where Frank and Ina Lucchetti sowed the seeds of their family business.

It remains large and firm, the only survivor of the 1946 chimney fire that burned down the family’s home and adjacent trees and of the 1991 frost that claimed its two remaining companions. The tree’s thriving existence resembles that of the simple fruit stand it helped provide shade for many years ago.

In early 1947, Frank and Ina Lucchetti rented a home in the eastern fringes of Stockton that was surrounded by nine acres of walnuts, peaches and plums. By summer, the first bounty of ripe nectar white freestone peaches at the property was ready to be picked. But the market wasn’t profitable.

Taking a friend’s suggestion, the young couple placed a table and signs on the side of the road to sell their fruit during the busy Fourth of July weekend. On the counter, Ina Lucchetti kept a bowl of just-picked peaches, plums or apricots for customers to sample.

And so it became known as The Fruit Bowl.

The once-small fruit stand now is a market and bakery at 8767 Waterloo Road in Stockton with an ample selection of products, including pasta, peaches, pies and paninis. It opened for its 70th season in April.

Ralph Lucchetti, one of three sons born to Ina and Frank Lucchetti, now runs The Fruit Bowl with help of his wife, Denene.

On a recent afternoon, as vehicles whizzed by the busy road, some slowed to turn into the market’s parking lot — just as others had done over the past seven decades.

Lucchetti wasn’t encouraged by his parents to pursue the family business. His father, in fact, thought he was nuts to want to get into farming. But, after five years of working elsewhere, he decided to return to his roots at his family’s ranch and market.


“It’s home,” Lucchetti said. “I wanted to continue on if I could, and it worked out pretty well.”

Denene Lucchetti said keeping The Fruit Bowl open is important to her husband because his parents started it, and of the three brothers, he’s the only one who went into farming.

Alongside their son and daughter-in-law, Ina and Frank Lucchetti helped keep The Fruit Bowl going for as long as they could and were able to see the completion of the market and the addition of the bakery.

Frank Lucchetti died in 2004 and Ina Lucchetti in 2011.

“They put a lot of hard work in, and my wife and I as well,” Ralph Lucchetti said.

Part of The Fruit Bowl’s success comes from Ralph Lucchetti staying as true as possible to the business’ origins of selling what’s grown at the ranch — he and an employee pick only enough fruits each morning to sell for the day to ensure freshness — and the practice has resulted in a loyal following over the years. The Fruit Bowl also stocks local produce and other items to provide people a one-stop shopping experience.

One woman, who was on her way out of the market after buying a box of cherries, asparagus, strawberries and more, said “this is the best” about The Fruit Bowl. She had been shopping there for more than 40 years, she quickly added as she hauled away her purchase.


“Regulars” will stop by the market two to three times a week. Some people making The Fruit Bowl their usual rest stop between their trips to the Bay Area and the mountains, and vice versa.

The result has been not only a dedicated clientele, but lifelong friends for the Lucchettis, which is part of the appeal of continuing the business, Ralph and Denene Lucchetti said.

The customers are great, and the Lucchettis have gotten to know some of them very well over the years, Denene Lucchetti said.

Ralph Lucchetti recalled one of those customers-turned-family friends was New York Yankee Frank Crosetti.

Sitting at a picnic table just steps from the house where he grew up, Ralph Lucchetti recalled Crosetti would stop by to sit under the shade of a tree and chat with his father. Crosetti once brought over his World Series ring to show a young Ralph.

And it’s not just the customers who are memorable — employees also have been at the root of The Fruit Bowl’s history.

Marie Barbagelata was 13 when she was hired by Ina and Frank Lucchetti to work at their ranch and stand.


The now 76-year-old said she learned such great skills — dealing with customers, counting back change — and work ethic from working at The Fruit Bowl, that she encouraged her daughters and granddaughters to work there. They did.

“It was an all-around good experience,” she said. “I feel like they’re family for me … Ina was one of my idols.”

Ralph Lucchetti said he’s not sure what’s in the future of The Fruit Bowl or whether one of his kids — he and Denene Lucchetti have three children — will continue in the family business or if it will make financial sense to stay open, he said.

Denene and Ralph Lucchetti aren’t ready to let it go, though.

Said Ralph Lucchetti: “We haven’t given up yet.”