My husband stumbled across this wonderful group late last winter, at a seed exchange. They are called Fruit for Thought, and their idea is so ingenious and yet so simple...organizing a group of volunteers to find local fruit trees that are not picked and picking the fruit (with permission of course!) so that it doesn't go to waste. A portion of the fruit goes to the homeowner, a portion goes to the volunteers, and a portion goes to local Food Bank and shelters. They hold preserving sessions too, where a group of people get together to put up their fruit for the winter. We signed up as volunteers right away, and our first "call to action" was last night.
I wish I had brought my camera, but maybe their blog will have pictures that another volunteer took. My children were standing on their father's shoulders, climbing ladders, and climbing trees. They learned how to pick apples "the old-fashioned way" by shaking branches and holding bedsheets underneath the trees to catch the falling fruit. They got to sink their teeth into the first fresh apples of the season. They were happy. They were helping out and bringing their energy not just to benefit themselves, but their family, their neighbours, and their community at large.
We picked apples, and we also picked some "Prairie Cherries". These cherries were the most beautiful red I've ever seen. Not the deep purple-red of the sweeter cherries we get from BC. Think ripe tomato red. They are a sour cherry, which I've never used before.
And there were so many of them! We brought home several buckets of cherries for ourselves, which my daughter helped me wash and pit this morning. They are now in the freezer and ready for me to learn how to make pastry for pie crusts.
So much to learn, for all of us!