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Berry-picking in Tyrone to help needy families

Jack and Shirley Smith pick vine-fresh blackberries, part of a ripening crop right of both blackberries and blueberries at the Real Life Fruit Orchard. The orchard was started in 2011 with the help of many individuals and businesses to help provide fresh fruit for families going through tough times. The fruit compliments the fresh vegetables that are currently received through the Master Gardeners, Two Doves Farms and several community gardens.

Planted in the orchard are 140 apple trees, 55 peach trees, 7 plum trees, 4 pear trees and 3 persimmon trees. Additionally, the orchard contains 300 blueberry bushes, 135 blackberry vines, 35 grape vines, 7 fig and 12 pomegranate bushes.

Once in full production (2014), the orchard will produce approximately 30,000 pounds of fruit a year. This will provide 3 to 7 pounds of fruit per family per week. This will complement the current fruit and vegetables the center already receives and will be a fresh and healthy food source for clients of Real Life Center. The orchard is cared for by approximately 80 volunteers.

The community is encouraged to come help pick berries on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. It is a great way for the whole family to serve together and make a difference in the life of their neighbors. For more information on how to get involved or to receive help, call 770-631-9334 or visit www.reallifecenter.org.

Harvest for Real Life Fruit Orchard started in 2011 and is housed on 3 acres of Dogwood Church property (Dogwood Trail and Ga. highway 74 in Tyrone, Ga.). The sole mission of the orchard is to provide fresh fruits to the clients of the Real Life Center. Cathy Berggren is the executive director of the Real Life Center. Photo/Special.

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