Tag Archives: September

Message from the President

Hello, OFRE volunteers, growers, and members of the community.

It is unfortunate that I must issue this statement to inform you that the OFRE cider shack at the McCauley School and the site of the OFRE orchard was broken into on the night of Saturday 13th, 2015. Critical components for our pedal-powered apple crusher were stolen from the shack, which makes our one-of-a-kind pedal-powered apple crusher unusable. These items include the stainless steel hopper, and two 20″ bike rims for the seat.

We are upset that someone would break into our shed and steal customized equipment that has no other purpose than to crush apples. We have used the crusher to bring joy to families, OFRE members, growers and volunteers by crushing thousands of pound of apples over the past 3 years. OFRE will continue to put on events, with slightly modified equipment to ensure that we continue to educate Edmontonians on the value of locally grown fruit, what type of fruit can grow in the city, and what you can do with that fruit.

We have reported the incident to the police, and a police report has been filled out. One of our volunteers also contacted the Edmonton Journal on behalf of OFRE to report the incident, and a story was published on Sunday night. You can find the article here:

If you or anyone you know has any information about this, please inform the police, as we would really like our custom equipment back, especially since this is our busy time of year and have events planned for the next two weekends which were supposed to showcase the pedal-powered apple crusher (pictured here).

pedal-powered apple crusher

We will also be starting a fundraising effort to rebuild the critical components to the pedal-powered apple crusher, and hope to raise funds.  Please stay tuned.

Mike Johnson
OFRE president

Press Release – The Golden Shovel!

OFRE’s 5th year celebration – From modest beginnings to a strong future:  Micro-Orchard takes root in McCauley

Your cordially invited to the official planting of the Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton micro-orchard, September 13th, 2014, at the McCauley School grounds, 95th Street & 107A Avenue.

As part of the days festivities, Edmonton City Councillor, Scott McKeen, Megan Rogers from Forestry operations, Jane Molstad from community revitalization, and Mike Johnson, OFRE President will make announcements and take part in the golden shovel ceremony. The event will start at 9am with the planting of the first tree at 10am.

Other attending organizations include: Edmonton Bicycle Commuters (EBC), and Edmonton Permaculture Guild. There will be live music, it’s open to the public and people of all ages are welcome to attend. OFRE volunteers will be pressing cider with the pedal powered apple crusher, which is always fun to see in action!

This orchard is unique to Edmonton, the region, and Canada as it’s one of the first ever urban orchards on public land. It will be a place for Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton to teach, learn and grow. For Edmontonians, it will be a place, to develop a passion for local food, to harness long lost food preservation skills, and to contribute to a stronger, more food secure city.

The micro-Orchard will include plantings to showcase the types and varieties of fruit trees, shrubs, and bushes grown in the Edmonton Capital region. Fruit varieties to be planted include: apples, pears, cherries, saskatoons, raspberries, and more! 

No experience necessary, just bring your enthusiasm and a shovel. The event is open to the public and is FREE to attend!

Riverdale AppleFest BBQ, September 21st, 1-4pm

Wondering what to do on a nice Saturday afternoon in September? Come on down to the Riverdale Community LEague celebration, AppleFest BBQ. OFRE has been invited to attend and make cider. Come join us for cider, good food, and fun! Community league memberships are on sale at the event.

Devonian Garden Fruit Growers Festival, Sep 18th, 11am-4pm

apple tree

This coming sunday is the Annual Fruit Grower’s Festival at the Devonian Gardens. If you have never been for a little trek out of the city to this place, you should go! It is a beautiful setting with a variety of different types of gardens perfect for a afternoon stroll with your sweetie. With courses, workshops, educational events, and expert gardeners on hand, it also a place of learning and discovery.

This weekend is all about fruit and growing fruit in the Edmonton area. The event runs from 11am-4pm. There will be experts you can ask your tree questions to, bring apples to for identification, listen to a lecture on dehydrating fruit techniques, fruit tree & shrub landscaping, and other topics, or stop by and see OFRE and learn about making fresh-pressed apple juice!

Fresh-pressed cider

Fresh-pressed cider

OFRE volunteers will be making fresh pressed apple juice for tasting! Stop by and see how it’s made, talk to the volunteers to ask them about picking fruit in the city, and have a taste! $1/glass with all proceeds going towards OFRE.

Idyllic Orchard Pick and Fruit Mob

good apples

apple picking at sunrise

apple picking

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!


OFRE Orchard & Cider Shack Design Charrette

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!