“Look mom, I’m eating like a bear!”
We were on a walk and had come across a saskatoon berry bush. My oldest daughter, branch in her mouth, had figured out how to get the most berries in her mouth with the least time and effort (with the bonus of extra fiber from accompanying leaves).
One of the best things about living in the Shuswap in the summer is our access to fresh fruit.
For many of us, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, apricots and plums grow right in our backyard.
Take a walk in the woods and you find thimbleberries, saskatoons, huckleberries, choke cherries.
Unfortunately, not everybody in our community has access to this abundance. For example, people without gardens, people on a limited budget and seniors living in nursing homes may not have access to these foods.
One program that has started in Salmon Arm is a Community Gleaning Program which organizes volunteers to pick extra produce from gardens, backyards, orchards or farms so that it doesn’t go to waste.
The gleaned produce is then shared equally between the owner of the property, the volunteer and another community program such as the food bank.
Community programs distributing gleaned produce are protected by the Food Donor Encouragement Act.
If you have a fruit tree that you do not have time to pick, contact the Family Resource Centre at 250-832-2170 extension 210, or go to their website at http://familyresource.bc.ca/programs/sustainable-food-programs where there is an online registration form.
Fresh, uncut fruits and vegetables are considered “low-risk” in terms of food borne illness.
However, following these guidelines will help ensure safety:
• Wash hands before handling gleaned produce
• Throw out any damaged or rotted produce, or produce with visible bird or animal droppings
• Store produce separately from raw meats
• Wash gleaned produce before eating
If you have lots of excess fresh fruit and vegetables in your garden, remember there are many in our community who could benefit.
Eating fresh summer fruit and vegetables is one of the best and nutritious gifts that you can offer.