Calgary cidery wants to turn your leftover fruit into a drink — for charity

In partnership with the Calgary Food Bank, the second annual Uncommon YYC Cider Fruit Drive is happening over the next few weeks, seeking leftover apples, pears, crab apples and berries.

Uncommon Cider wants you to donate leftover fruit in support of the Calgary Food Bank

Uncommon Cider co-founder Brodie Thomas wants Calgarians to donate their excess fruit in support of the Calgary Food Bank. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

For Calgarians wondering what to do with excess fruit from trees and bushes in their yards this season, Uncommon Cider has an answer — help them turn it into a beverage.

In partnership with the Calgary Food Bank, the second annual Uncommon YYC Cider Fruit Drive is happening over the next few weeks, seeking leftover apples, pears, crabapples and berries.

"We're making a Calgary-based cider to really showcase the [terrain] of Calgary," said Brodie Thomas, co-founder of Uncommon Cider.

"We're using completely natural yeast, so whatever yeast is on the skins of the apples when we juice it, to ferment, so it's going to be a very unique product."

Fruit drop-off points will be available at locations around the city until mid-September, including:

  • Sidewalk Citizen East Village — Aug. 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m .
  • The Food Realm by Market Collective — Aug. 30, 5 to 9 p.m.
  • National on 17th — Sept. 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Citizen Brewing Company — Sept. 7, 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Cannibale in Bridgeland — Sept. 9, noon to 4 p.m.
  • Cannibale in Gravity Pope — Sept. 14, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Last Best Brewing and Distillery — Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Mashing — Sept. 21 and 22.
  • Dairy Lane Cafe — Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bruised fruits are OK, but anything rotten won't be accepted.

Volunteers are also being sought to help pick trees and bushes for Calgarians who aren't physically able to.

Apples picked in Calgary recently, which will be made into cider in support of the Calgary Food Bank. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

Cider from fruit gathered during last year's inaugural effort — in conjunction with Inn From the Cold — will be available this fall, and cider made from fruits gathered this year will be released in fall 2019.

A portion of proceeds from each pint or bottle of cider sold from last year's batch will go to Inn From the Cold and a portion of this year's proceeds will aid the Calgary Food Bank.

"I wanted to be able to collect [leftover fruit] and make it into something and give back to the community," said Thomas.

Colour, said Kelly Mandeville, a partner in Uncommon Cider, is a good way of knowing when fruit is ripe enough to be picked.

"The pinker the crabapple the better, I mean that's what I find when I'm eating them up in a tree," she said, describing the flavour as being, "a little bit tart and a little bit sweet, but then a little bit savoury."

With files from Julie Debeljak