Our Story

In late 2015, Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld formed Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires after noticing that large amounts of unpicked fresh fruit were falling to the ground and going to waste ... and Backyard Bounty was thus born.

Backyard Bounty is affiliated with The Nutrition Center, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and is a proud recipient of a grant from the Green Pastures Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

In 2016, 25 South County homeowners and 30 pickers/gleaners volunteered to participate in the Backyard Bounty fruit recovery and distribution effort. We were ready to go! Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. Unseasonably warm weather in late winter and early spring caused the fruit trees to bud prematurely. Then an unexpected hard freeze in early April killed most of the fruit tree buds. We had no choice but to wait until 2017 to begin gathering fruit. We also decided to expand our food gathering efforts to include vegetables in order to provide food during the summer months and reduce our dependency on weather-sensitive fruit trees.

Backyard Bounty completed a very successful inaugural season in 2017. We gathered and distributed over 8,200 pounds of vegetables and fruit to those in need. We also expanded our volunteer base to include: 1) 13 local farms to donate their unsold vegetables; 2) 31 homeowners to donate apples and other fruit from the trees on their property; 3) 39 volunteers to pick the fruit; and, 4) 18 food pantries and other agencies in South County and Pittsfield to distribute our collected produce to those in need.

During July, 2018, Backyard Bounty completed construction of a refrigerated storage shed on the WIC/CHP campus in Great Barrington. This created significant additional flexibility in the timing of produce pick-ups and deliveries. At the same time, we began to pick up excess fresh produce from Big Y and Price Chopper in Great Barrington. This materially increased the amount of fresh produce being delivered to those in need.