Accessing Locally Grown Fruit – Buy it, Grow it, Rescue it

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By: Getty Stewart, PHEc, B.Ed., Author of Prairie Fruit Cookbook

As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter, I yearn for the fresh taste of local fruit. The tart, refreshing taste of rhubarb.  The full bodied flavour of local strawberries.  The delightful combination of raspberries and cream. The unmistakable flavor of wild blueberries, saskatoons, chokecherries and cranberries. The intense flavour of our sour yet sweet cherries perfect for pie.  The joy of a crisp, juicy apple plucked right from the tree and the intense taste of those deep blue grapes.  Mmm, can’t you just taste it!

Want to get your hands on fresh locally grown fruit this summer?   Here’s how:

Buy It

Visit farmer’s markets, u-pick farms and small local grocers to get the freshest local fruit possible. You can’t beat freshly picked, sun-ripened fruit.

Grow Your Own Fruit

Even if you live on a small urban lot chances are you can grow at least some of your own fruit.  Think about small options such as rhubarb, currants, haskaps, strawberries, cantaloupes, gooseberries, nanking cherries, grapes dwarf apple or cherry trees.  When making your selections, skip the large retail outlets and visit locally owned and operated greenhouses for the best advice on varieties and growing tips for your space.

Rescue and Share Surplus Fruit

All across Canada, fruit rescuing organizations like Fruit Share are popping up.  Fruit Share is a non-profit, volunteer organization that connects fruit owners with volunteer fruit pickers.  Fruit owners with excess fruit, make their fruit available to volunteer pickers who will pick the fruit and split it three ways.  One third goes to the home owner, one third is split between the volunteer pickers and the final third is donated to community organizations that can make good use of the fruit (soup kitchens, food banks, church groups, youth groups, social service agencies, etc.).  The result is more fruit for those who love and need it and less waste and mess for those who have too much of it – a win/win/win.

Our friends at Hidden Harvest Ottawa have put together this chart of established fruit rescuing groups across Canada.  If your community isn’t on the list, don’t give up, call a local organization involved in food security or sustainable living to inquire about anyone who may already be rescuing fruit.  Or, consider starting your own fruit rescuing group with the help of Fruit Share Manitoba’s guide to starting your own Fruit Share.

BRITISH COLUMBIA
ALBERTA, MANITOBA,SASKATCHEWAN
ONTARIO
QUEBEC, EAST COAST

 

Whatever way you get local fruit this summer, I hope you enjoy every mouth-watering bite!

Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.  For more articles, recipes and tips on Making Home Cooking Easy and Enjoyable visit her blog at www.gettystewart.com

Funding for this article provided by the Canadian Home Economics Foundation.