How To Pick Fresh Fruit From a Tall Tree

the canner, orange picker

Nicknamed "The Canner," this can-on-a-pole plucks fresh oranges and limes off of tall trees in a snap. Minimal assembly required.

The kids nicknamed it “the canner.”

I call it a fruit picker, and I first saw one when I was about 7 years old. It was in a wild cactus and fruit garden kept by an old Mexican American who tended several acres of fertile dirt in the middle of what turned into inner-city Richmond, Calif. Over decades he built an oasis of exotic fruits trees – including a two-story tall banana tree — olive groves, cacti, and bees hives. He would pick things, slice them like a ninja with his pocket knife, and then hand them to us to eat, which we did with fascination.

This weekend we were in the back yard trying to pick oranges and limes and decided to put one of these together rather than climb the old rickety ladder.

The Canner in action: Cup, pluck, then eat

Here’s how to make one: get a wooden pole from an old broom stick or rake. Then, cut a sharp edge on one side of a tin can and attach it with two screws to the wooden pole.

Using it to remove fresh fruit takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it!


lawrence Welk Resort

In the northern corner of San Diego County where the earth is scorching dry and giant, polished boulders shoot out of the mountain sides like they were spit from a volcano hundreds of miles away, there is a water park named for the late Lawrence Welk.

It’s only in a place like this that a kid would position herself beneath a five-gallon bucket as it dumped its fresh load.  Our trusty Rebel caught two of these moments mid-splash; I feel drenched in recycled pool water just looking at them.