Does the thick white blanket on the ground signify the end of apple season? It might for trees still waiting to be picked, but countless households will be enjoying the wholesome and nutritious flavor of apples well into the winter.
Wildsight KimberleyCranbrook “went big” with the Apple Capture Project this year following a successful pilot project in Kimberley in 2011. They bought several sets of old fashioned apple processing equipment and made them available to residents of both Kimberley and Cranbrook. From fruit juice to dried apples, the local apple harvest is being used in a way it hasn’t been for decades.
“I’m not exaggerating when I say that the community has literally turned tons of local apples into juice and other preserves,” says Jessica Windle, Food Sustainability Coordinator for Wildsight. The project is a creative solution to the never-ending volunteer task of picking apples before the local wildlife get to them.
Another aspect of the Apple Capture Project is the “tree share” program. Many generous fruit tree owners were happy to have their trees picked as a way to reduce animal attractants and to share the harvest – aka labour!
Trish Barnes of Cranbrook has made her apple trees available for the picking for two years now and says that, “Every person that’s come has been grateful and pleasant – a woman and her young son even left jars of apple butter and raspberry jam.” She adds that it sure has reduced the amount of apple waste in her household. The trees are listed on a user-friendly website, and those looking for apples can find a tree close to them and get in contact with the owner.
If you still have apples awaiting a delicious purpose, you can book and borrow the juice press or dehydrator for free through the online booking system for another week or so. Register at www.wildsight.ca/apples/registration. There is equipment available at the Allotment Garden in Kimberley as well as Gerick’s Sports in Cranbrook. “Both the allotment garden and Gerick’s have been invaluable in the success of the project this year by providing storage for the somewhat bulky equipment,” says Windle. Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook gratefully acknowledges the funding from Columbia Basin Trust, Cranbrook & District Community Foundation, and TD Friends of the Environment that made the project possible in the first place. Windle notes that it was a priority this year to set-up the project in such a way that it will be sustained with minimal additional funding for years to come.
Now that the harvest season is coming to a close, Windle is looking forward to planning next spring’s fruit tree pruning workshop. The workshop will be facilitated by a seasoned local arborist, and will give attendees hands-on experience in maintaining both young and old trees to obtain a healthy harvest.
For more information on the Apple Capture Project go to www.wildsight.ca/apples or call Jessica at (250) 427-2535 ext 223.