I was on the fence about having a Christmas tree here in the Fig Garden Project this year, but I finally decided my first Christmas in Fresno in a while was a milestone that deserved a little indulgence. I almost purchased a bright pink Christmas tree at a local thrift store, but I decided I just couldn’t do it--I had to buy a real tree, which of course, I will sustainably dispose of once the holiday season is over. But I did not have Christmas ornaments--I have no idea where they are. So why not use local products to make a beautiful Christmas tree? Not to mention I am a fan of food foraging.

The day before I scored my tree at Whole Foods, I decided to treat myself to a mini road trip and explore the little towns outside of Fresno. I chose the San Joaquin Valley towns of Reedley and Parlier. I wanted a tree that would honor the local economy as well as my Armenian heritage, so what could be better than foraging for persimmons and pomegranates? I drove along some country roads and found plenty of trees that were clearly done for the season--and the owners obviously were not interested in the amazing fruit that was hanging from their trees’ branches. The sight of persimmons dangling from bare branches are a sight I remember from Korea; and what is more beautiful than pomegranates splitting open during the late fall.

So here are a few tips: fuyu persimmons are better than the hachiya variety, because the fuyu are harder while the hachiya persimmons become super soft, and may even drip off your tree. Of course, I will simply nosh on those succulent hachiyas before they become a mess. As for the persimmons, be careful as the split persimmons, if they become damp thanks to rain, can become moldy--I had to compost a few. Most importantly, be sure to bring a pair of gardening clippers to make your fruit poaching easier.

Once I arrived home, I cleaned off the fruit with a damp cloth, and then affixed ornament hooks to the branches--a few pomegranates lacked any twigs or branches, and I could not find fishing line, so I used dental floss. The result is a DIY Christmas tree that is 100 percent compostable: with the exception of the LED Christmas tree lights, of course.

You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).

Image credits: Leon Kaye

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Pomegranates from Parlier, CA

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Persimmons outside of Reedley, California

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Splat! Be careful of pomegranates

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Wash your pomegranates and persimmons

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Pick up the tree at Whole Foods

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Be careful while wheeling the Christmas tree home

christmas tree, DIY, Leon Kaye, Fig Garden Project, San Joaquin Valley, Fresno, pomegranates, persimmons, Fuyu persimmons, hachiya persimmons, Reedley, Parlier, Christmas in Fresno, foraging, fruit forage, Whole Foods

Leon Kaye's Christmas tree with pomegranates and persimmons

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.