In 2014, I became President of Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE). Over the years I have seen the organization grow from a sheet of paper with names and numbers to a complex database that connects growers with pickers. The accomplishments are many, and the work seems to never end. I ask myself somedays; why continue? I could be building my penny lamp, or finishing my beer bottle walkway project, both in desperate need of completion. At that moment I remember my first pick with OFRE. I was dragged by my now wife to a house with 2 apple trees. It was not far from our current house, and it was loaded with apples. There were 3 other people there and when I got there, we warmly greeted each other. I was immediately asked to climb the tree and get the apples from the top. It was amazingly rewarding. I felt like a kid again and everyone was in great spirits seeing all the fruit being saved. We took some home and made apple sauce and cider, the other pickers took some home to make pies and other goodies, and lastly some went to food bank. At that time OFRE didn’t take any fruit for processing.
Since then I have been on countless picks and each time the enthusiasm and energy of the pickers lift my spirits. The gratitude of the home owners is precious, and the knowledge that I have learned from reading about fruit I have passed on to fellow pickers and home owners. Yet each time I go on a pick I learn something new. I am now more appreciative of local food, the community, and the bounty that exists right in our city and it is all here for us all to discover.
I hope that this year will be better the ever. OFRE has a new board, and we are striving to put processes in place that will rescue more fruit, build stronger communities, share knowledge and make long lasting friendships. Become a member today and help us find the fruit hidden in the city!