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Stopping the rot: Okanagan College initiative creates juice from abandoned apples

An École Beairsto Elementary student helps with the picking.
An École Beairsto Elementary student helps with the picking.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED: Okanagan College

An Okanagan College social enterprise is making the most of an abundance of apples left on trees at the end of the season by turning the fruit into fresh juice for sale.

Non-for-profit student organization Enactus Okanagan College recently headed out into the orchards and picked 13,000 pounds of apples that would otherwise have gone to waste. The apples were then turned into juice and put into five-litre boxes.

The apple juice boxes are now for sale in select local businesses and online.

"Despite the many personal and logistical challenges brought on by COVID, this team continues to adapt and push forward, united by their commitment to help those in need," Okanagan College School of Business instructor Andrew Klingel said in a media release.

The team commandeered the help from the Grade 5 class at Vernon's École Beairsto Elementary, which taught students about food security, environmental protection and helping those in need. The socially-distanced class helped pick apples to support their school breakfast program.

Enactus Okanagan was formed in 2018 at Okanagan College and launched an initiative to turn leftover apples that would have gone to rot into FruitSnaps. With help from the charity, North Okanagan Valley Gleaners 20,000 FruitSnaps servings were produced to go to local schools, food banks and Indigenous communities to help with food insecurity. The pandemic put a halt on some aspects of the program but the Okanagan Gleaners were still able to process almost two tons of apple donations from B.C. Tree Fruit. The FruitSnaps went to local schools through the Starfish packs program run through School District No. 67, Okanagan Skaha.

The apple juice can be purchased at Lakeview Market in Kelowna, Triumph Coffee or Soul Studios in Vernon, or online at here. It's only available while supplies last, with 400 cases for sale.

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