I spent a fruitful morning yesterday with a dozen teens from the CISV Peace Bus out at Island View Beach on my first pick of the year for the Fruit Tree Project. As part of their cross-Canada tour, the teens involve themselves in community projects, aiming to make the trip carbon neutral. Picking local fruit fits the bill because it means less imported fruit is needed to feed the communities and enterprises where the unwanted urban fruit is distributed.
We were picking from trees that had been planted in a beachside campsite that the CRD took over a few years ago. Because the irrigation that had watered the trees had to be taken out (not up to code, apparently) there hasn’t been any watering since then, so the fruits tend to be small while the trees adapt to their new micro climate.
The Fruit Tree Project van holds all the ladders and picking equipment, together with weigh scales and as many sturdy boxes as can be found. Jesse, one of the program coordinators, lays it all out ready for the arrival of the bus, and gets everyone started, while a local TV cameraman covered the event.
A peaceful period of picking passes
and then it’s time to weigh and load the fruit in the van, clean up the fallen fruit, and head off to store it.
The cooler at Fruit Tree Project’s HQ – LifeCycles – where it’s normally kept is full to bursting while the team works on distributing the seasonal bounty to community groups and local food processors. So, with the help of Fruit Tree Project co-coordinators Renate and Jesse, we park nearly 500 lbs of apples in a trusted garage while the smaller quantity of pears and plums goes back to LifeCycles.