It has been an exceptionally busy fall so far – at work, at home and in the pursuit of our passions which compliment all of it.
A few weeks ago we had the privilege of guests in our home – the kind folks from Not Far From The Tree (Laura, Laurel and Marc) came by and joined Margaret (our friendly neighborhood photographer), Dana and I for a night of making preserves. It was to be a night of learning, sharing and tasting together. We’ll post more on tasting in a day or two – for now I want to focus on who these people are and the wonderful work they do!
Not Far from the tree is a wonderful food-based charity that focuses on harvesting from our urban orchard. The concept is simple – find volunteers who are willing to help pick fruit from a residential property and split the bounty 3 ways – one part to the volunteers, one to the owner of the tree and a final share to local charity. It’s a brilliantly simple concept that is executed with a tonne of hard work, passion and care.
The team picked over 3,000 pounds of fruit in the Toronto area in 2008. In the summer of 2009 they eclipsed more than 7,000 pounds! The team recounted a recent harvest of more than 500 pounds of pears from only two trees in a residential backyard.
The fruit is typically distributed via bicycles and carts (they have a trailer that can carry about 250 pounds of fruit on two wheels).
The team works with some talented preservers already – we saw a great opportunity to get together, share laughter, experience and knowledge. They also brought fruit! Apples from the Spadina Museum, Pears from the giant harvest and concord grapes from a friend who had offered them to the team. Laurel recounted a fascinating history of the Spadina Museum and their mission to create historically accurate gardens which replicate the way the gardens looked and functioned at the time of building the museum.
We made applesauce, grape jelly and canned pears. Margaret documented the evening (all of these photos are hers) and we shared stories of mutual passions that made the evening simply delightful! Laurels post on the same evening is here.
If you are looking to preserve next year and want fresh, local and inexpensive fruit and a great cause to contribute to, check out Not Far From the Tree and considering lending a hand next year!