British Columbia·Field Reports

When life gives you unwanted fruit, make ... popsicles?

A program run by the Kamloops Food Policy Council is trying to reduce food waste by collecting excess fruit grown in the area and turning it into popsicles.

A group in Kamloops is turning excess fruit into summer treats

The Gleaning Abundance Program's popsicle flavours include peach basil, plum tarragon and apricot honey. (Submitted by Gleaning Abundance Program)

Field Reports is a series of stories told by people in the Kamloops community, who pitched their ideas and produced the radio segments with the help of CBC Radio One. Tune in Tuesdays until the beginning of April on Daybreak Kamloops.

A program run by the Kamloops Food Policy Council is trying to reduce food waste by collecting excess fruit grown in the area and turning it into popsicles.

The Gleaning Abundance Program has volunteers that work in partnership with local tree fruit owners to pick unwanted fruit. 

During peak growing seasons, there is so much fruit harvested they struggle to give it all away, program head Sandra Frangiadakis told field reporter Sonya Rokosh.

Greg Unger is working on creating new popsicle flavours and perfecting the texture of the sweet treats. (Sonya Rokosh)

"We tried drying fruit and freezing fruit, but it's really super time consuming and there isn't really a lot of market for that," said Frangiadakis.

They also considered making jams and preserves, but they didn't want to infringe on the locals who are already selling them at the local farmers' market, said Frangiadakis.

"So, popsicles just came up and it's a fun thing. They're pretty easy to make."

Fun flavours

They don't have a name yet for the popsicles, but they do have some pretty unique flavours.

Greg Unger, project co-ordinator and popsicle-maker, has most recently been experimenting with using peaches. 

"We don't get a lot of peaches, [but], we do get some," said Unger. "And so I decided to try actually two peach flavours today. We're doing peach basil and we're doing hot peach."

Grade 3 students in Kamloops taste test plum tarragon popsicles. (Sonya Rokosh)

In addition to the two peach flavours, they also have plum tarragon, apricot honey and gingery pear.

Popsicle proceeds

The popsicle project is a social enterprise, meaning it's a business designed to give back to the community. 

All proceeds from the project go to programs run by the Food Policy Council.

The council hopes to sell their treats for around $4 or $5 at the farmers' market this summer. However, a full list of locations of where the treats will be sold is not yet available.

Unger plans to do deliveries by putting a cooler on the back of his bike. 

"If it's hot out, and you need a popsicle, and you're in a park, look us up."

with files from Sonya Rokosh and Daybreak Kamloops


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