What we gathered this year:
It is a new year and time to review what fruit we gathered last year. We kept accurate figures on some things and not others, so our resolution for the new year is to weigh all fruit that arrives.
Rhubarb - We collected over 1,300 Kilos of rhubarb this summer! and our cooks are worried we might not have put enough away. So, in the fall we created a new condiment called BrewBarb which is made with rhubarb and HopsSlayer beer from Hogs Head Brewery topped up with tons of hot spices. It is great with meats, as a glaze for the BBQ or a dip for pretzels!
Raspberries - As usual it was prickly picking and some patches did well and others were taking a break this summer.
Local sour cherries - This was a great year for sour cherries and we juiced all of them to use for our line of Cherry products!
Pears - were not as abundant this year but we have still made lots of Almond Pear and Ginger Pear Jelly.
We have also found that our Peppered Pear Condiment has been a popular condiment this year.
Saskatoons - We spent a number of days picking saskatoons in the country and our volunteers are already planning how to be more productive next year!
Currants - Red and black currants were a new fruit gathered this year and we have juiced them for jelly. The pickers came home hot and tired after those days in the sun and had stained fingers for days.
Apples and Crab Apples - We received our annual bounty and over 6 weeks, chopped, cooked and juiced apples and crab apples until we thought there would be no end. Apple season is truly the time of hardest work in our kitchen. We also were able to redirect about 15,000 kg of apples to various smaller food banks, group homes, charities, community kitchens and anyone else who had a use for them.
Then came the surprises!
From our local gardens came plums, apricots, grapes, herbs, Hascaps and even local Kiwis. From the local BC fruit vendors in town we collected apricots, peaches, strawberries, raspberries and other small fruits that go into Apricot Amber Condiment, Peach Pepper and Port Condiment and form the base for the Summer Fruits juice for Saskatoons in Summer Fruits.
As well, this summer we received fruit from the Organic Food Box. These are the fruits that are no longer good enough to send out to customers due to wilting or bruising but with careful culling and sorting at our end, we can 'rescue' good fruit. We have learned that it can all come at once and although thankful, we have been up to our elbows in salvaged fruit and lots of debris ready for the composter. We thank the Organic Food Box for their partnership and we also forward excess to some of our community partners as well over the year.
Thank you to the multitudes who donated, shared and picked!