Foraged apples put to good use

A community event to celebrate the autumn apple harvest, and with a focus on preserving surplus produce, brought together more than 70 people in Wanaka at the weekend.

From primary schoolchildren to the elderly they chopped, pressed or cooked the donated and foraged fruit to make apple chutney and pure apple juice at the seventh Wanaka Autumn Apple Drive at Rippon Hall on Saturday.

Wastebusters project manager and one of the event organisers, Sophie Ward, said "it was seeing so many apple trees around Wanaka with fruit falling to the ground and going to waste that prompted the first Wanaka Apple Drive more than seven years ago."

All the fruit was donated including 10 banana boxes of Granny Smith apples picked by Ms Ward and other volunteers from a former commercial apple orchard in Lowburn.

Chopping fruit for relish at the Wanaka Autumn Apple Drive at Rippon Hall on Saturday are (from...
Chopping fruit for relish at the Wanaka Autumn Apple Drive at Rippon Hall on Saturday are (from left) Nico Pettit (12), Anika West (11), Siena Dunlop (12), Zoe Gumpatzes (12) and Susannah West (12), all of Wanaka. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH
"The owner has all these beautiful Granny Smith apple trees and he hates to see the fruit wasted so he gets in touch every year and says come and pick the fruit," Ms Ward said.

Every person who participated in the event received a free recycled glass jar of freshly cooked apple chutney and a recycled glass bottle of freshly squeezed apple juice, she said.

Any food over would be donated to the second annual Long Lunch at Rippon Hall held yesterday and the Wanaka Community Food Bank.

Ms Ward said the Queenstown Lakes District Council waste minimisation community fund helped cover the cost of the venue which was "really appreciated".

All food for yesterday’s Long Lunch was donated by the Wanaka community and cooked by some of Wanaka’s top chefs with all proceeds going to Wanaka charity Food for Love.

Guests were asked to take their own crockery, cutlery and glassware to minimise waste.

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