From Australia to Winnipeg – by Pascale R


There’s a scary and growing trend where we consume and discard fruit and vegetables without a second thought to it. It’s so easily accessible to us, in grocery stores, in markets, at restaurants, that tossing it out is never a concern because we can easily replace it. This leads to a lot of wastage. How much is a lot? In Canada alone it’s 2.5 billion alone in fresh produce.

When I moved to Canada from Australia a couple of years ago, I wanted to get involved in the community and be part of a sustainable project. Our fresh produce wastage numbers are scary, but that’s nothing compared to the wastage that’s occurring in our own backyards without us even realizing it.

What’s the Buzz about Fruit Share?

Welcome to new friends and familiar ones! We are looking forward to the 2014 season ahead. In the meantime, we thought this would be a great opportunity to share more information about the organization and what we are about.


The Back Story

The revolution began in the spring of 2010. Frustrated with fresh, local, nutritious fruit going to waste, and the desire to help others, Getty Stewart started Fruit Share in her South Osborne neighborhood. The inspiration to create Fruit Share came to Getty after reading an article about volunteer fruit rescuing operations in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Victoria. During the first summer, 10 volunteers harvested over 1,600 pounds of fruit at 20 picks and calls started to come in from all over Winnipeg. By the second year, Fruit Share grew to a stunning 201 volunteers harvesting over 7,300 pounds of fruit from 153 registered fruit owners.

Acorns, Anyone?

We received the following request from Brock Houndle, who runs a bird sanctuary near Rennie, Manitoba:

I was wondering whether anyone ever requests that you come and pick up acorns from their property?

I run a bird sanctuary and we could make use of them. Just asking in case you’ve gotten inquiries in the past about acorns and you didn’t know what to do with them.

While Fruit Share is unlikely ever to organise an acorn pick (although you never know!), if you have acorns on your property you would like to share with the birds, you can contact Brock at 204-369-3157 or Do please let us know if it happens, especially with pictures!

Four Years of Picking

Sometimes a pick is just a pick, sometimes it’s so much more.  A recent pick brought me back to 2010 when Fruit Share was just taking shape.

Mrs. O is one of the original homeowners that called me to pick her Goodland apples in 2010. She was 80 and couldn’t pick or use all of her gorgeous apples. Given to her by her sons on Mother’s Day years ago, she was eager to see the apples from her special tree go to good use.  Her story inspired part of  my TEDX talk on Sharing Our Surplus

Steinbach Update – by Rebecca H

We are having an exciting second year! We have over 70 volunteers, almost 30 homeowners and have rescued over 2000 lbs of fruit! We are building some strong partnerships with community organizations such as Steinbach 55+ and Anna’s House, sharing kitchen space to teach jam and apple sauce workshops. It has been wonderful to get Fruit Share Steinbach into the local media, we have been featured on Mix96.6,, in the local newspaper, the Carillon, we have a regular ad on the Lawn and Garden Journal and we have been featured in the Manitoba Cooperator.
It has been amazing connecting with so many volunteers who want to come out and rescue fruit and I love talking to homeowners who are so relieved to hear that someone will enjoy the fruit that they cannot. Dropping fruit off at shelters and food banks is so gratifying, knowing that we are sharing vitamin packed, fresh local fruit with others. Fruit Share is really making a difference here in Steinbach!


Share Seeds – Spread the Love!

The following is a message from Jeff Shwaluk. If you would like to help him with his mission, contact him at

Hello, I own a couple of properties and currently only have raspberries that I transplanted from my hometown farm. I planted them at the front fence for everybody walking by to help themselves.

They all love them so much but they spread so slowly and I was hoping to expand into a wide variety of non-GMO local fruits. I could plant them at edge of properties where people in need could help themselves.

Good Riddance Fruit Flies!

You may have noticed that these pesky bugs have returned with a vengence in the past few weeks! Fruit flies tend to build in population in the summer as harvest time approaches and they reproduce very rapidly. The flies are attracted to fermenting fruit and can smell the scent of ripeness from quite a distance.

overripe banana

Overripe banana

Did you know that fruit flies can travel up to 6.5 miles in a 24 hour period?

Fruit flies can be challenging to eliminate, but there are a few tips that can help to control them:

  • Store fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator as they approach ripeness
  • If you are noticing fruit flies, dispose of overripe or bruised/damaged fruit or vegetables

Mid-Summer Update

We’re super excited at the continued growth and process improvements at Fruit Share.  Here’s an update on some of our stats for 2013.

# of Registered Fruit Owners: 349
# of Registered Volunteers: 466
# of Harvests to Date: 18
# of Pounds Harvested to Date: 620
Variety of Fruit Harvested: Rhubarb, Strawberries, Raspberries, Sour Cherries, Apricots, Crab Apples, and Apples.


We’re also very excited at the progress Steinbach and Brandon have made this year.  Both locations now have their own Fruit Share websites and databases.  Rebecca from Steinbach was recently interviewed by the Steinbach Carillon while Tanis from Brandon did an on-air interviewed by Westman Communications Group. They’re picking fruit, hosting workshops, running contests and sharing recipes and will be posting some pretty impressive results by the end of this summer.  Way to go!

Spotlight on Fruit Share Steinbach

Steinbach is a growing city, with a thriving surrounding community. What better a place to root another Fruit Share chapter! This is exactly what Rebecca Hiebert did in 2012, and Fruit Share Steinbach has been gaining recognition in the area ever since. I had the opportunity to speak with Rebecca this past week to learn about the exciting events happening this season.




…Events Coming Soon…

Summer in the City (June 14 & 15) 

Look for the Fruit Share booth and stop by to get some great information and try a few tasty treats!

Pick & Preserve Events at Anna’s House & Steinbach 55+

Pick fruit and learn how to preserve it safely. Coming this summer! Stay tuned for dates.

Orange Rhubarb Butter

Orange Rhubarb Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 2x500 mL jars or 4x250 mL jars.


  • 8 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice


  1. Combine rhubarb, sugar and orange juice in a large heavy pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let it gently bubble, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  3. If it is sticking to the bottom of the pot, reduce heat.
  4. Continue cooking like this for at least one hour, until the butter has reduced in volume and has turned a deep rosy colour.

Happenings at Fruit Share Brandon

What a busy season ahead for Fruit Share Brandon! While the chapter is relatively new to the area, there has been terrific progress in spreading the word via local and social media. I had the opportunity to connect with Tanis Brown-Birch from Fruit Share Brandon this week about happenings this summer.


  • Announcement in the Brandon Sun (May 15th)
  • Radio interview on Bill Turner’s Feedback CKLQ 880 (May 27th)
  • Interview with the Westman Journal (June 7th)

Social Media Info:

By the Numbers…

  • Volunteers: 27 have signed up in the city of Brandon to date

Harvesting Rhubarb

We are gearing up for harvesting season! With the recent rain and warmer temperatures, rhubarb will soon be ripe, if it isn’t already! Picking rhubarb is a very simple process, however there are few tips to keep in mind:

–Before you start–

  • Remember, only the stalks of the plant are edible!
  • Refrain from picking stalks if this is the first year of planting the rhubarb
  • Rhubarb can be harvested about every 4 to 5 weeks, or about 3 times a season
  • Rhubarb growth may be affected by lack of water, poor drainage, high temperatures and frost

–What to look for–

  • Stalks should be about 10-20 inches long 
  • The length and thickness of the stalk can vary according to weather conditions and the variety of the plant

Fruit Owners: The Process

Thank you for sharing your fruit with us!

Our commitment to you is to post your harvest request with our volunteers.  Whether your fruit is harvested is up to our volunteers’ availability.

The Process

Step 1 – Registering Your Fruit

Register your fruit with Fruit Share anytime of year.  This registration let’s us know your basic fruit information.  Once we get your registration, we’ll send you a welcome email that includes a link to your specific Harvest Request Form.

Step 2 – Requesting a Harvest

One or two weeks before your fruit is actually ready, we ask that you fill in your Harvest Request form with the specific details including date and time for when you would prefer volunteers harvest your fruit.  Remember, most of our volunteers have day jobs, so evenings or weekends work best for them!