Pleasanton seniors are enjoying the fruits of their labor

A group of Pleasanton seniors are enjoying the fruits of their labor, and some unusual fruits they are.

Thanks to a rare fruit expert on site, the resident gardeners at the Stoneridge Creek Retirement Community have grafted and planted unusual varieties from around the world.

The seniors at Stoneridge Creek in Pleasanton already had a lot of gardening experience.

"I remember gardening with my dad. He had a victory garden during World War II," says John Merizon, a resident at Stoneridge Creek.

But it's not just how long they've been doing it that's unusual, it's what they're growing.

Their garden is overflowing with rare fruit, from Russian pomegranates, to Buddah's hand citrus, from Brazilian guava to pluerry, a cross between a plum and a cherry.

It's all thanks to the teaching of one resident, who's a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers Association.

"To be able to see things that I've never seen before and to grow before our eyes, it's pretty cool," says Susan Filice of Stoneridge Creek. She adds, "You might see three or four cherries or plums all grafted together in one tree."

About 80 of the Stonecreek Ridge residents work in the garden.

But sometimes, like with their grape harvest, there's enough bounty to share.

"And they were added in our salads. So that was pretty special to be able to have grapes added for all of the residents to enjoy," says one of the gardeners, Elizabeth Bliss.

For awhile, COVID-19 kept the seniors away. Staff at the retirement community was charged with keeping the plants alive, exotic and common alike.

"And I'll tell you when I came back my radishes looked like beets and my beets looked like potatoes. They got watered but no one picked them," says Merizon.

The gardeners say they're glad to be back, with social distancing protocols in place.

They missed the routine, the responsibility and just being outside.

Now, they're ready to reap the fruits of their labor and perhaps share with their neighbors again.

"They admire them, you get to say how about if I drop two or three of them by your door. And they say that would be such a great treat. So that's also a feeling of pride," says Bliss.

Next up, the gardeners say they're eager to try an assortment of rare figs and Russian pomegranates that are just about ripe.