Eshaan Bansal volunteered to pick apples for the culinary student program to reduce waste. Photo credit: Linda Verreault

Crabapples filled the trees, and the ground was covered in them. Students and faculty gathered to pick small crabapples on campus Sept. 14 just outside the B- building near parking lot 1.

These tiny apples were a handful to capture as attempts were made to reach them with apple pickers.

The devices used were long adjustable metal poles, with a basket attached at the end. The tiny apples slipped through the baskets as pickers gathered them and landed on their heads. But this did not deter any attempts to capture them.

The crabapple picking event was held for the first time this year. The event was created by the volunteer center and the Facilities Management team to help clean up and reduce waste from the fallen apples, while reducing the presence of bees and wasps.

The college is hoping to make it an annual event. Two previous events were held on Aug. 31 and Sept. 7.

“As you can see, we have an abundance of crabapples available on site,” said Amanda Barr, grounds coordinator. “In the past, they’ve just been allowed to fall and rot and it’s quite a waste of resource so we’re trying to leverage that we’re actually having these apples donated to our culinary department.”

Carol Ann Mahoney - Volunteer Centre 
Amanda Barr - Grounds Coordinator 
Arlen Findley - Horticulturist
Carol Ann Mahoney of the volunteer centre,
Amanda Barr, the grounds coordinator, and
Arlen Findley, a horticulturist, all took part in the event on Sept. 14. Photo credit: Linda Verreault

They were able to collect over forty bags of ten pounds each of apples.

“They’re beautiful apples and actually, the bigger ones are quite tasty compared to smaller apples that are more sour and more bitter,” said Barr.

“Some students stayed for an hour, some stay for 20 minutes between classes just to get some fresh air and some sunshine and a break,” said Carol Ann Mahoney, community engagement officer with the AC Hub.

Students and faculty can register with the volunteer center and whenever there are activities and volunteer opportunities they get contacted through email.

Eshaan Bansal, 18, a student in the computer system technician program, heard about the event from the volunteer center and decided to participate.

“I don’t know anything about apples trust me if I am taking them home, I am wasting them,” said Bansal.

He decided to help collect them for the culinary program.

Sara Cherif, 37, a student in the autism and behavioural studies program also participated.

“I like volunteering and I love nature,” said Cherif. She was also going to take some home to make jam or a dessert. Cherif is going to get her mom to teach her how to make some jam as all her aunts make jams, like strawberry and orange.

Andrew Skorzewski, an instructor in the culinary arts program, is one of the chefs involved in this initiative.

“Last week we cooked and strained about 150 pounds of crab apples producing 40 liters of apple sauce,” said Skorsewski. “This week we are cooking it all up and should end up with about 25-30 liters of finished product.”

The products should be available for sale at Savoir Faire on campus shortly.