This year has been an amazing one for OFRE in terms of community connections, newly recruited volunteers, and new projects outside of picking fruit.
Many of our volunteer pickers are not only interested in harvesting and eating local food, they also want to learn how to preserve the fruits of their harvest. Many of the traditional canning/preserving skills have been lost, but there is a keen interest among the younger generations in learning these skills and making food in a more sustainable way.
With this in mind, we have started to host canning, preserving, and cider making workshops for our volunteers. The goal of these workshops is threefold:
- educate each other on canning and preserving practices and recipes
- make products to distribute among members
- to generate a source of revenue for OFRE through sales of items made from OFRE fruits. Fresh products made my volunteers using Edmonton grown and harvested fruits doesn’t get much more local OR sustainable than this!
OFRE now has 460+ growers in our list and I feel that we have barely scratched the surface of how much fruit is actually grown in the city. To think about what is here in terms of quantity as well as variety is quite mind-boggling, especially when you think that 1 apple tree can produce 200+ pounds of fruit in a season!
With this many growers, we gather a lot of fruit! So, making cider, jams, jellies, etc. is one way for OFRE to get through the fruits rescued in such a way that this can be shared and enjoyed long after the season is over.
We will be making our debut at the Alberta Avenue Farmer’s Market this Thursday (Sept 1st). In the summer, the market is outdoors and the market runs from 5pm-8pm. Look for our items at the Community Tent.