Pick of the week – Guest post from Jacquie Lycka of Parkallen Home Kitchen

What access to local fruit means to me:

Being a Fruit Hero!

I am honoured to be have been asked to write a guest blog post for OFRE’s pick of the week. This will be my fourth growing season volunteering for OFRE and I have loved every summer more than the last.



As a self proclaimed local food advocate, having access to local fruit in my neighbourhood means a lot to me. It means that I know exactly where it came from, who grew it, and I can be rest assured that the fruit that my family and I are eating did not travel thousands of miles to end up on our plates. Taking home a large amount of free fruit doesn’t hurt either ;).

My journey with OFRE has been a fun filled one. My very first pick was with OFRE founder Amy, where we picked a massively overgrown raspberry bush. In the end, our hands were stained, our legs were scratched, and our bodies were entirely bug bitten, but we were exhilarated. I made an amazing white chocolate raspberry ice cream with the berries from that pick, which is now one of my favourite recipes. White chocolate rasp

The following summer, I did my first Evans cherry pick. Those tart, plump berries were turned into a fantastic sour cherry liqueur. sour cherry

I was inspired to partner with OFRE for a school project, where we picked apples for the MacEwan Food bank. I had a blast working with my classmates, climbing trees, rescuing apples and feeding hungry students.

Last summer, my husband and I ventured into apple juicing and Pommeau making. They made fantastic Christmas gifts and a great sipping cocktail throughout the long, cold winter we had. Pommeau

Throughout my last four summers with OFRE, I learned more about fruit trees than I thought possible. With this knowledge, I now have the ability to care for my own fruit bearing trees and bushes in our yard and to turn the fruit into delicious recipes.

I can hardly wait for this season’s local fruit to blush and ripen for the picking. My Parkallen Home Kitchen is waiting in anticipation for the creations that will result.