This past weekend, OFRE volunteers trekked outside the city to pick apples on a farm in Namao. The owners had 15 different types of apple trees!
They were kind enough to label all the trees for us by name so that we could learn what different types of apples grow in Alberta. Some of the names of apples we picked were: Norkent, Norland, Rescue Apple Crabapple, Dongo Crabapple, September Ruby, and Fall Red Apple.
Since we had such a large place to pick, we invited lots of pickers and with lots of pickers, why not hold a fruit mob and see how fast we could all pick one tree! Neighborhood fruit captain, Mike Johnson oriented all 8 pickers on how to do a fruit mob and led the attack. It was picked in 18min and 59 sec. Way to go fruit ninja’s!
Everyone had a fun time, it was beautiful weather, and it was a pleasure to take a short jaunt out of the city and hang out in a farm orchard for the day. Our hosts were kind enough to make us fresh carrot juice from carrots them had just picked in their garden. How nice! It was delicious too! Our youngest little helper was a bit pooped by the end of the pick, but was a joy to have around. She got passed among the pickers as we entertained her with cuddles, apples, and explored the orchard with her.
With such a nice orchard, we got to thinking of other ways we can work with this grower and suggested doing a group pruning event to give his trees a needed trim and enable other fruit growers to learn techniques for pruning their own fruit trees. They were quite excited about the idea, so we are going to work on this and try to plan an event in the off season. It’s best to prune fruit trees after the harvest and before spring. Stay tuned!
OFRE may have set some new picking records this weekend. Way to go neighborhood captains and pickers!
So what did we accomplish this long and labourious weekend?
Most number of picks organized in one weekend (7)
Largest geographic area covered in one weekend (St. Albert, Bonnie Doon, Millcreek, Buylea Heights, Castledowns, Oliver)
Most number of picks in one day, Labour Day Monday (4)
Amount of fruit picked (still need to weigh it…but it’s taken up a significant portion of my yard)
Possibly the largest variety of fruits picked: apples (several types), crabapples ( a few types), chokecherries, red currants.
Highlight: Apple crushing Garburator is built! Thanks to the amazing handiness of Mike Johnson for getting a brand new garburator on kijiji for a steal and turning it into an awesome apple crushing machine! (photos coming soon)!
It was a weekend of firsts for OFRE. Congrats to everyone for their hardwork! We have come a long way this year in many ways: the number of pickers we have attracted to our organization, getting some much loved media attention (Edmonton Journal, CBC, Radio-Canada), winning our first grant, our stellar new logo and postcards, winning our first grant, producing cider for the Alberta Ave Farmers Market!
I hope there is more exciting things to come for OFRE in the coming months and we will look back at this at the beginning of many exciting things. I have lofty dreams for our little organization. I hope someday we have a space in the urban core where we can teach and help people not only find the fruit hidden in our city, but educate and learn from each other on how to sustainably grow fruit within our urban environment. A place where the wealth that urban food production can bring to spaces, places, and people’s lives is spread and share with others.
Spring is here and it’s bike month in Edmonton. Time to ride and pick!
What is it? In honour of bike month, I thought it would be fun to do a rhubarb bicycle tour. Anyone who wants to come pick rhubarb, come along!
Where and when is it? Saturday: We will be meeting on the southside at a place TBA on Saturday, June 25th, @ 1pm. We will be picking rhubarb at a few places, and riding around the city with rhubarb on our backs and bikes. Sunday: We will be meeting on northside at a place TBA near the stadium, June 26th @ 1pm. Same idea as Saturday, except on the northside of the river.
Processing: In addition, on Sunday, we are hoping to go to a community league afterwards to process some of the rhubarb together making pastries, bbq sauce, and juice, most likely.
How can I help? I need volunteers for a few more planning items, so if you are interested in helping out, send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org. e.g. make pastry ahead of time, bring items like sugar, flour, jars to the community league, taking photos of the rhubarb riders, etc.
I missed this article when it was originally published back in January, but thought i would post it anyway.
Here are 2 interesting article on the topic of food waste. The second one relates very closely to what OFRE does in collecting fruit in backyards. The buzzword to capture this concept is called: gleaning.
Both of these article give food for thought and are worth pondering as we continue to hibernate in the edmonton cold, thinking about the upcoming warmer seasons right around the corner.
Click here to read the food waste an unappetizing problem article.
Click here to read the creative solutions to food waste article.