Fall 2016

It is officially fall, and quite possibly the end of the beautiful summer weather. While many of us enjoyed the hot summer weather for camping, cottaging and many other outdoor pursuits our local pear and apple trees would have preferred more temperate weather, and certainly more rain. Most of the trees that we normally harvest have produced little to no fruit this year. This would normally be a low yield year for our urban fruit trees (most of them are on a 2 year cycle and last year was a high yield year), but there is certainly less fruit than expected.  

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End of Season 2015

Thank you so very much to all of our volunteers, and tree owners! We had a successful year harvesting 3 700 lbs of fruit from backyards and small orchards, plus another 13 000 lbs at the large Cumis harvest. All of the fruit was donated directly to Food for Life who made sure that it was distributed to people in need in Halton. Best of all we managed all of this using only volunteers, and without funding for the program (this website is paid for through a generous grant from the Oakville Community Fund).

Way to go everyone and have a safe and happy winter! I look forward to seeing you in the early spring for tree pruning, and again next fall for harvest season.

All the best,

Melissa

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Cider Day 2015

We had a fabulous time at Cider Day this year, where we were blessed with great weather and great friends and made some delicious cider the old fashioned way! Thank you very much to Ciderhill Farm for hosting the event and letting us use your cider press!

 

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13 000 Pounds Harvested at the Cumis Apple Harvest!

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This year Cumis generously donated their entire apple harvest to Feeding Halton, a collaboration of social services and the agriculture community working together to increase local food procurement from local farms to those in need. There were many eager volunteers from Cumis, Union Gas, Food for Thought, Halton Fruit Tree Project and Food for Life, out to help harvest the plentiful and humungous apples on the beautiful old and lovingly cared for apple trees. We worked hard, loaded a seemingly never ending number of boxes of apples into trucks and trailers and delivered them to the Food For Life distribution centre. By the end of the morning a remarkable 13 000 pounds of apples had been harvested and donated. Thank you so very much to everyone who made this achievement possible and especially to Cumis for your wonderful donation to our community.

 

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Harvesting with Eaton Electric Volunteers

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I am so fortunate to have volunteers from Eaton Electric help harvest fruit and prune trees throughout the year. This past week Eaton volunteers assisted in 2 apple harvests. The first took place at a private backyard orchard where, along with one of our Halton Fruit Tree Volunteers, we harvested 11 crates of Macintosh, Mutsu and Spartan apples in record time. The second harvest took place at Ciderhill Farm, where three Eaton volunteers along with two Halton Fruit Tree Volunteers harvested 20 bushels of apples in just 3 hours. That speaks volumes as the the hard work that was put in by all volunteers this week!

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Harvesting Pears with the Vanier Centre for Women

On September 29th I was joined at a pear harvest by a group of wonderful volunteers from the Vanier Centre for Women. The day started out under grey skies as we worked to harvest and sort Bosc and Anjou pears from 10 trees on a commercial property in Burlington. There were a lot of pears, and the ladies worked diligently to harvest as many as possible, even when it began to rain. After 2 hours of hard work we had 18 crates of pears packed into the truck ready to be dropped off at Food For Life. The pears weighed in at 720 pounds! Thanks to this great team of volunteers fresh picked and tasty pears were distributed to people in need. 

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Macoun Apples are Now Available at Schultz Farm

Drop in to Shultz Farm Stand, 4243 Sixth Line in Oakville, and pick yourself up some farm fresh Omega 3 free-range chicken eggs, delicious lean bacon and some of our weekly apple picks.

This week we are featuring Macoun apples fresh from Ciderhill Farms in Flamborough. Ciderhill apples are "no spray" from an old stock orchard. Macoun apples are a crossbreed of the McIntosh and Jersey Black cultivars and are considered to be one of the best all-purpose cooking apples around. They also are sweet and delicious eating apples.

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984 Pounds!

Wow team! So far this season 10 of our very dedicated volunteers have put in 35 hours of work and harvested 984 pounds of fresh, local, organic fruit. It's so amazing that we are able to make this fruit, that would otherwise go to waste, available to our community. Way to go!

There is still a LOT of fruit on the trees, and we would love your help with harvesting it. Please register to volunteer so that we can let you know of our upcoming harvesting opportunities.

 

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It's a Bumper Crop!

The urban fruit trees have outdone themselves again this year and we desperately need your help to harvest the fruit and transport it to Food For Life so that it can be distributed to the community groups. It's a great way to spend some time outdoors during the lovely fall weather and you get to take home freshly picked fruit for yourself, while helping out the community. 

 

How to help:

  • Please register yourself, or your team on the volunteer page, or email foodinhalton@gmail.com
  • Pass our information on to anyone you know who may be able to volunteer a few hours to harvest or sort fruit
  • Check our calendar page to see when the upcoming harvests will be held
  • Follow us on Twitter @foodinhalton
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Corporate Volunteers and Team Building Activities

What better way to spend some of your corporate volunteer time than harvesting fruit under sunny skies? If your workplace offers out of office volunteer time then please register to volunteer with us. You will receive notification of harvests that you can bring your team out to. We provide all the training and equipment needed, and you will be able to take some fruit home for yourselves.

 

We also have lots of opportunities for Corporate Team Building Days - from harvesting fruit or produce to canning and preserving it for use by our food banks. We will provide all tools and training needed, and your team will get to take home some of the fruits of their labour. If you are interested in planning a Team Building Day contact us at foodinhalton@gmail.com.

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Earth Week EcoFair at the Burlington Public Library

We will be participating in the Burlington Public Library's Earth Week Ecofair tomorrow, Saturday April 18. There are great displays, guest speakers, children's activities, and a Seedy Saturday Marketplace happening. We hope to see you there!

 

 

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Gleaning at Tigchelaar Orchard

 

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The end of harvest season is here! This morning we visited Tigchelaar Orchards to glean the apples that were left on their trees. Three of us worked for three hours and easily harvested 700 lbs of beautiful Gala and Mutsu (I think?!) apples from the well kept apple trees. Another 300 lbs of juicy apples had already been harvested by the owners of the orchard, John and Claire. We loaded them all into our truck, and dropped them off at Refresh Food for Life who will distribute them to the community.

Thank you very much to the Tigchelaar’s for allowing us to glean at your orchard. We love your orchard, especially your farm stand serving fresh brewed Direct Trade Coffee!

 


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Under Pressure with Bernardin

We had such a great time at our first canning workshop with Chef Emerie Brine from Bernardin Canada that we were thrilled that Feeding Halton invited him to come back and teach us about pressure canning. Unlike hot water bath canning which is used only to preserve high acid foods, pressure canning can be used to preserve low acid foods. Chef Emerie expertly led us through all the steps required to safely use a pressure canner to preserve beef, and soup, while entertaining us with stories from his travels throughout Canada. It was a very informative workshop, and of course we got to sample some more delicious creations from Bernardin. We are looking forward to putting our pressure canning knowledge to work after next year's harvest.

 

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Cumis Apple Harvest

Although rain was falling in other parts of Burlington and Oakville the sky was clear over Cumis for the annual apple harvest. Over 60 volunteers arrived bright and early to help pick approximately 4200 lbs of organic apples from the mature 15 acre orchard which is lovingly cared for by Cumis. Cumis has been allowing local community groups and social service organizations to harvest the fruit from its 500 trees since 1991. This year 2400 lbs of Empire, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Mutsu, Red Delicious and Spy apples were harvested and donated to 2400 lbs Food for Life, and another 1800 lbs were donated to local farms as a special treat for cows and horses.

Thank you very much to our volunteers from Target, and Cumis, as well as everyone from the Halton Fruit Tree Project for helping to make the day a success!

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Canning with Bernardin and Feeding Halton

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A group of 19 eager participants gathered at St. Christopher's Church in Burlington to learn canning essentials. Many of the participants were leaders from local church supper programs, and community kitchens who wanted to know how to extend the life of produce that is donated. Others were interested in refreshing their canning skills from Bernardin Canada's canning expert, workshop presenter and brand manager Chef Emerie Brine.  

Chef Emerie took the participants though the steps to heat process Blueberry Lime Jam and fresh pickles, updated us to new products from Bernardin, and gave many valuable bits of advice along the way such as:

  • canning is like baking; don't mess with the recipe. Always follow a tested recipe. (and avoid using any recipe from prior to 1982)
  • if you don't have time to make jam during harvest season simply crush the locally grown fruit and freeze in baggies until you  do have time
  • use straight sided jars for freezing
  • heat processing does not destroy the nutrients in food

It was a very informative workshop, with great door prizes and of course, taste testing the delicious products.

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Volunteer Register a Tree