Bears are frequent visitors to yards with unpicked fruit trees. (File)

Bears are frequent visitors to yards with unpicked fruit trees. (File)

Food Chi offers Sooke a chance to put fruit trees to good use

Program uses fruit while discouraging wildlife visits

Sooke Food Chi is beginning a new fruit tree gleaning program, and organizers say it’s an opportunity to both share in the region’s fruit harvest and discourage pesky bears from coming to call.

“A lot of folks have lots of apples, plums, and pears on their trees and some people just can’t pick it all for a whole variety of reasons,” Anita Wasiuta, of the Sooke Food Chi, said.

“That fruit can fall to the ground and start rotting, and besides the waste that represents, it also attracts bears and other unwanted wildlife to their yards.”

RELATED: Keep bears away from fruit trees

By contacting the Food Chi, homeowners can see their fruit picked by volunteers who will then distribute the tasty crop to those who can use it; locations that include the Sooke Food Bank.

“We also have an apple press, so people can bring their apples to the community garden and press out their own fresh apple juice,” said Wasiuta, adding Food Chi will ensure that even the juiced apple pulp doesn’t go to waste.

“We take that to community farmers where they feed it to their pigs and other livestock. They love it.”

Anyone who has trees in need of harvesting or who would like to become a volunteer picker is invited to visit the Fruit Tree Program, Sooke Food CHI webpage or contact Amber at

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