Category Archives: Picking

An Apple a Day…

Photos by on flickr.

We are so lucky that apples have such a lengthy harvest season in BC. Now that we are well into autumn, Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples are ripe for the picking. If you are not the apple picking type and your robust fruit trees are giving you anxiety, flaunting their fruit in your face, don’t forget that the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project has the will and the volunteer-power to fix that particular dilemma. Get in contact with us and we’ll manage the harvest for you and donate it where there is need in the community.

Photos by sarahridgley on flickr.

Despite reaching ripeness around the same time in October, Granny Smiths and Honeycrisps come from very different pasts. Granny Smith apples originated in Australia in 1868 from a chance seedling. They are named after Maria Ann Smith. In 1960, the Honeycrisp apple came about in a much more controlled environment, the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. They are a cross between two exceptional apple varieties, the Macoun and Honeygold. A medium apple (approximately 154g) contains 80 calories, zero fat and sodium and 5g of dietary fibre.

When you are trying to get as much use as you can out of a particular harvest, it is essential to be a bit creative. Yes, apples make applesauce and apple juice or cider and even apple preserves but what about soup?! It is true we have been having more sunny days than usual in the wet and wonderful lower mainland but there is a chill in the air (and I already managed to catch my first cold of the season, sniff). If it is cold outside, I want my insides to be warm and that is where my love-affair with soup comes in. And since it is October and fields from Ladner to Abbotsford are turning a certain shade of orange, why not branch out a bit? Add a gourd to your table full of apples!


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small-to-medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored, chopped (I recommend Honeycrisp) OR use just 1 large apple and make it a tart Granny Smith
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs oil (olive or vegetable)
  • 3-4 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • Pinch each of nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper

Combine butter, oil, onion, celery and carrot in a large saucepan. Cook for five minutes or so, until the onions just barely start to caramelize. Add your chunks of squash and apple. Pour the broth over top. Choosing to use 3 or 4 cups of broth depends on how thick or thin you like your blended soups. I prefer thick so I use 3 cups. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is soft. Puree and add spices to taste.  A chive or parsley garnish is a nice touch, too.

– by blogger Aubrie Chaylt



Waiting for Cherries

cherries are here

Cherries are here!

I came home from work on Friday to find three big containers of cherries waiting for me! I’d been watching our trees – one was showing very little fruit and the other…well, it had lots of fruit but it was waaaay up there for only the birds to enjoy. Or so I thought! Our trees are 30 years old and over 30 feet tall. Of course, most of the cherries are in the top 10 feet – well over ladder and even picking pole reach. Hence my amazement at seeing all these cherries in my kitchen!

Some have gone to the neighbours and some I’ve dehydrated but there’s still a big container left. I’ll give it to my neighbour who is skilled at all things food preservation, and let her give them the attention they deserve. I didn’t ask my husband Brad how he got them. I don’t really want to know, because it probably involved climbing ladders and hanging off the roof of our 3-storey complex. Since he is the primary caregiver of our small children (and was home alone with them at the time), I won’t ask, I’ll just give him a big hug for getting them for me. He knows I love cherries – but probably not more than I love him – so one day we’ll have a chat, but not till the cherries and crows are long gone.
– by Erin, VFTP Pres

Do you have a fruit tree in your yard?

perfect apple?

Is this apple too perfect?

No, this is not a locally grown apple. a little too perfect for that. but there are lots of apples grown right in vancouver, in our own backyards. do you have an apple tree? or another fruit bearing tree? does the amount of apples growing on your tree overwhelm you when its time to harvest? does some of the fruit end up falling on your yard, rotting & attracting unwanted pests?

fruit picking

Got a fruit tree in your backyard?

Solution! Vancouver Fruit Tree Project brings groups of volunteers together to pick fruit from your tree, and then the fruit gets redistributed in the community to those who need it, like daycares, community centres, etc.If you are the owner of a fruit tree in your backyard (or front yard), contact us and let’s work together!(joey is a new blogger with the vancouver fruit tree project society. like a good vancouver resident, she really loves food & coffee. she works at a local restaurant, & she also photographs & writes her own random little food blog. recently, she’s become increasingly interested in the topic of food security. she wanted to know more, & she wanted to know how she could be involved in her community. in her research, she stumbled upon the vancouver fruit tree project last month & really liked how they care about food, people, the environment, and about waste (or not wasting), among other things.)

Welcome to the 2011 Season

The 10th Fruit Tree Project Season

This is the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project’s first e-newsletter!  We send information about Fruit Tree Project volunteer opportunities, projects, and events.To sign up, use the form on the right hand sidebar.

Here are some ways to join us:

Volunteering for picking fruit: If you’re new this year, to be contacted for fruit picking email with “pick list” in the subject line.

AGM! We’re holding our annual Annual General Meeting on Thursday, June 16th. Details to follow.

Outreach event: Would you like to table at the Stone Soup Festival at Britannia Community Centre Sat. May 7th for 2 hours between 12-5pm? Email to sign up.

Bike trailer workshop –Thanks to the generous Vancouver Cargo Bike Collective, we’re able to make pedal powered deliveries this year. Learn to ride with the trailer: email

Slow Fruit Cycle Event: Imagine a slow, group bike ride to show off the Fruit Tree Project’s harvest and build support! Volunteers wanted to assist in planning/organization of a slow fruit cycle in late July or early August, email

Volunteer Opportunities: more volunteer opportunities on our website, including Board member positions, bloggers, social media, drivers….

New faces and ideas are always welcome. Drop us an email, or come to the next meeting. Email for dates and times.

we’ll be hiring…

We’ll be hiring a part-time Coordinator this season. If you enjoy volunteer coordination, have good communication skills, are organized, and have a 3-year driving record (so you can book Car Coop vehicles), watch the website at and Facebook for updates..

Book Review: Independence Days

In the Bookshed: Independence Days | Sharon Astyk
Guest Post by Megan Adam

I should warn you upfront that no sooner was I done this book, that I started clearing a corner of my basement for long-term food storage. Not necessarily because Sharon Astyk makes a compelling case for the end of civilization as we know it, but because the notion of security – and in particular food security is so compelling to me. For more than a decade I have put some food by each year, canning mostly, occasionally drying foods, but after reading this book I’m committed to doing a lot more. Three months supply of food for each person in the house? I’m not sure about that yet, but I’ve got that corner cleaned out and I’m going to fill it.

Independence Days is an excellent introduction to the whys and hows of food storage covering everything from how to get your family to eat storage food (not a problem in our house because we already eat lots of beans and lentils and rice) to recipes to the principles behind lactofermentation. What I particularly appreciated were the acknowledgements throughout that moving oneself into a more secure food paradigm is a task often complicated by the hard realities of personal economics, and the people with whom we share space.

Astyk’s style is eminently readable – conversational and breezy throughout as she chides her own past mistakes in food preserving (really – she says – don’t let your fermenting kimchi explode in your kitchen), and imparts real-world wisdom in each step of the various processes – root cellaring, canning, drying, lactofermentation and season-extension in the garden. Additionally, an extensive home medical kit is also covered as part of your home preparations — just in case.

While not an alarmist, Astyk does ask us to consider the possibility that we encounter a disaster so great that we are not able to access grocery stores or municipal water supplies. That might be a quarantine, it might be an earthquake, or it might just be a job loss that leaves one with little means to pay the rent and eat. In any of these situations she suggests that putting food by while we have it available is not only a good strategy, but a responsibility to ourselves and our families.

I can’t say I disagree, and while greater food security for my family is something I’ve always meant to get around to, this book is written in such a way as to give you confidence in getting started without being overwhelmed. If food security at home is something you think about, this is a good first-reference and an enjoyable read.

– Megan Adam blogs at