I love the bounty of fruit and herbs we are given each year.  If you follow us and our products you will know that we make a wide variety of products with our main local fruits such as rhubarb, raspberries, sour cherries, pears, apples and crab apples.  Then little gems appear like Honeyberries, local plums, concord grapes, apricots and assorted herbs.  These little treasures are usually in small amounts that we believe should be highlighted as a prime ingredient instead of being lost in batches of Bumbleberry or Mixed Fruit jam.  The problem was how to market these small batches?  Finally, in our consultations with Alberta Agriculture a solution was found - Limited Edition Jams. Limited Edition is defined as 'limited to a small number of copies'.  That fits what we want to do.  We have the small amounts of unique fruits and the ability to make some unique jams or condiments with them.  They will be created in our hand-made method - batch by batch and our wonderful cooks will play with flavours - as they like to do - to create something unique and flavourful.

For those who would like to be part of this little adventure, we invite you to join our Limited Edition Jam Club.  Link here for details on the different options - all of which will include Limited Edition products.  They will be assembled and delivered to a variety of locations in the area in the last week of the month.

We already have product ready to go and more will be made as the demand increases so let's get started!!!!  The application is here.

Triple Dividend - New Concept for Team Building \ Work Group Experiences

As you and your company plans for team and group events for the next year, would you consider doing something that pays a Triple Dividend?   Let me explain. We offer 1 day workshops for volunteer groups where you will work with us for the day.  Class description is here.   There is a fee for the day but the payoff happens for the Self,  the Environment, and Others.

  • Self:  Each person attending will learn about the abundant urban fruit that grows in the city and is not being used.  During the months of July - October, participants will assist in picking the fruit, learning how to prepare it for immediate use or save to be used later, and finally in making a jam and/or jelly.  They will learn how to blend spices and herbs to create a unique flavour combination and finally prepare product to take home with them.   It is truly a hands-on experience.
  • Environment:  By learning about the amount of fruit that grows in the city, participants will become more aware and learn options for its use rather than garbage.  Fruits of Sherbrooke practices include composting, recycling, reuse, and diversion of excess edible fruits to other charities and non-profits around the city.  Some of the fees will enable Fruits of Sherbrooke to continue to create it's programs of creating a directory, collecting and re-directing excess urban fruit that grows in this city.  In this manner, more food gets to people who are willing to use it, waste is reduced and fruit from the ground goes to animal farms.  We are also looking for new and creative options for using the over-abundance of apples and crab apples in the city.
  • Others:  A portion of the fees for the course will be applied directly to the Cherry Stone Soup Program.  Through this program the Fruits of Sherbrooke will be offering free workshops to low income groups as identified by Alberta Health (such as community kitchens), new immigrants as identified by Catholic Social Services and the Mennonite Centre for Refugees and other community resources.  This program is already being trialed.  The funds are needed to provide the participants with jars and supplies and the dream is to have enough funds to supply participants with equipment such as canning supplies or a dehydrator.  Eventually we would like to have the funds to set up a system that would connect those with excess with those who are willing to pick and use.  So the fees from the course will help Fruits of Sherbrooke to run and administer their programs that connect excess fruit to those who will use it.

Please read the course description and call us to find out how we can work together.  We are able to customize a day if you want to made a product for your office, for a fund-raiser or other purposes.   We are open to considering all queries.

Phone - 780-244-0129     Email  Fruits of Sherbrooke

Sweet Chili Tri Sauce - The Birth of a Sauce PLUS a Shared Recipe

As the chief cook, I am always thinking of new ways to use our rescued fruit.  We have 6 basic local fruits that we can count on rescuing each year - rhubarb, raspberries, sour cherries, pears, apples and crab apples (in abundance).  There are always other treasures that come along such as saskatoons, wild blueberries, herbs and even pumpkins in the fall plus the BC fruits we rescue from the Farmer's Market.  However, our staples are rhubarb and apples.  We found out pretty quickly that if we want to sell jams and condiments with these abundant fruits I have to find innovative ways to put them together.   Rhubarb is a wonderful fruit/vegetable as it is versatile, partners well with other fruits and provides a good carrier for strong flavours.  At present we probably have about 30 different recipes with rhubarb in them one way or the other.  It is also the first ingredient I consider when I want to create something new - especially as it is still so abundant. I had been thinking of making a variation of the Thai Sweet Chili sauce but I needed a couple of things to come together.  On one of our many rainy days in late June, I visited a local Mexican store and as there was nobody else there, I was able to ask lots of questions and was introduced to some new (to me) chili peppers.  I finally had the flavours I wanted.   So back in the kitchen we juiced some rhubarb (what else?),  soaked some of the new chili peppers and pulled together some other potential ingredients and started to create.  These days of creation are the best!!!   The process is to put together a few possible recipes, taste them, add something to tweak it one way or another, taste again and then tweak and taste.  As I now have some wonderful assistants from Ethiopia, they come with different food experience and knowledge, so we can sometimes be rather far apart at the start.  But with friendly competition and lots of laughter, we finally move towards perfection.  The amount of heat is still open to discussion but we did agree to a medium heat that will give a wonderful tingle at the end, but is still acceptable to a typical Canadian palette.

We call it Sweet Chili Tri Sauce as there are 3 chilis in it.  The sauce itself has a lovely full flavour before you get the heat.  There is the fruity body that is provided by rhubarb juice and a light smokiness given by one of the peppers.   Then we added a light touch of some other notes of flavour to fill the mouth before the chili peppers start their demand for attention.   I think as a team of cooks, we did a really great job with this one!!  When we took it to the market a couple of weeks ago to see what our customers thought - it was an instant success!

Ann Kusiak told me last week that it is a favourite in her family already, (alongside the Chipotle Rhubarb Ketchup) and when she told me how she used it I asked for her recipe.  Very kindly she shared it and I am forwarding it with this post.   Enjoy the recipe but before you get too deeply into the dipping, take a taste of the sauce by itself and see what you think.  Share your comments and recipes as well.

Green Onion Pancakes with Fruits of Sherbrooke Sweet Chili Tri Sauce.

Anne said this recipe is from the 1992 Moosewood Cookbook.

Flour                                     1 cup Salt                                        ½ tsp. (optional) Green onions                    3, finely sliced Water                                   ½ cup Oil for frying  (grapeseed is good)  or preheated oven at 350 F. Fruits of Sherbrooke Sweet Chili Tri Sauce

Combine flour and salt (if using) then mix in the onions. Add water and mix until it forms a dough ball. Divide dough into 6 pieces and on a floured surface, roll out or press with fingers into a 1/8” thick circle. In a heavy fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and pan fry each pancake for 3 – 5 minutes until golden. Alternately you can brush pancakes lightly with oil and bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until cooked through. Serve warm with Sweet Chili Tri Sauce.

Thanks Anne.