Apple Capture: Bolstering Local Food Sustainability 

Photo: Trixie Pacis

With many of our programs active in the summer months, winter has become a time to look back and reflect on the work we’re doing in our community. This year, we’re excited to share that our Apple Capture program was, once again, a big success.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, our Apple Capture program transforms would-be food waste and wildlife attractants into locally sourced food for local consumption. The program achieves this by engaging local residents to pick and process apples that would otherwise be left to rot. In addition to organizing pick and press events, we also lend out a library of equipment in Kimberley and Cranbrook that folks can borrow for their own pruning, gleaning and preserving projects. 

Here’s a recap illustrating how each aspect of the Apple Capture program contributed to the community during the 2021 season.


Picking Events

We staged two well-attended picking events in Kimberley on September 18th and 25th with 16 and 12 volunteers, respectively. We also had a picking event with the helping hands of the entire College of the Rockies Women’s Volleyball Team. In total, 34 yards were picked, some with multiple trees. We harvested 2,347 lbs. of fruit, most of which was stored at the Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Depot. The depot was able to utilize approximately 657 lbs. of apples.

The 2021 season was a little out of the ordinary, given that apples seemed to have ripened earlier than most years (perhaps because of the inordinately warm spring and the heatwave in June/July).  So, although we picked almost as many trees as last year, we recovered about 700 lbs. fewer apples. This is something we’ll be keeping in mind for the 2022 season.


Pressing Events

In total, we conducted 10 apple juice pressing events. These include: 

  • Community event at the Cranbrook Public Produce Garden (September 12)
  • Community event at the Kimberley Community Garden (September 19)
  • Better at Home (September 24)
  • Wildsight Harvest Party (September 26)
  • Boys & Girls Club (October 1, 5, 7)
  • Girl Guides Kimberley (October 7)
  • Strong Start Cranbrook (October 12, 14)

On the whole, the events were a success, involving about 150 participants including several local passersby who joined in! We pressed 1690 lbs. of apples into 175 litres of juice. Most of this was taken home by the participants and 22 litres were donated to the Kimberley Food Recovery. Over 200 lbs. of mash and apple waste were donated to local farmers for animal feed.

Apple pressing at the Kimberley Community Garden duing the 2021 Harvest Party. Photo Credit: Trixie Pacis.


Equipment Library

The Apple Capture Equipment collection continues to be well used. Over 69 locals have taken advantage of the equipment lending services. This includes 220 individual loans, totalling 13,768 hours of bookings. 

With funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, we were able to purchase two 4 ft. ladders, two 8 ft. ladders, four new extending apple pickers, four new picking bags, plus assorted small items for the equipment library. A fourth dehydrator is awaiting a grant decision for the Kimberley collection.


Get Involved in 2022

Our goal for 2022 is to raise more awareness about this program so that we can conduct more well-attended picking and pressing events, particularly in Cranbrook. We are also hoping to update our equipment booking system to make the process more convenient for all.

How can you support our Apple Capture program? Here are a few ways:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media to hear about picking and pressing events next season.
  2. Know someone in the community with a fruit-bearing tree? Tell them to Share A Tree and check out our Tree Share Board.
  3. Know someone who wants to prune their trees, harvest, or preserve fruit? Make sure they know we share our Apple Harvest Equipment!


Report by: Chad Kile, Sustainability Coordinator, Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook