Okanagan chefs get into spirit of making juice

Tonnes of apples were turned into litres of apple juice for the Kelowna Food Bank, in what's become an annual tradition.

Local chefs got jazzed about making juice, this weekend.

In tandem with International Chefs Day, members of the  Okanagan Chefs Association spent Saturday morning juicing local apples with Frank Deiter’s Mobile Juice Factory at BC Tree Fruits.

Tonnes of apples were turned into litres of apple juice for the Kelowna Food Bank, in what’s become an annual tradition.

“We press the juices, box it, deliver it to the foodbank, help stuff hampers and then deliver the hampers when Christmas comes around,” said Bernard Casavant, president of the Okanagan Chefs Association.

The idea, he explained, is to offer something nutritious to the community’s less fortunate. The other bonus is that the cooks and chefs who volunteer get a lesson in juice making.

“A lot of the people here have never seen fresh pressed apple juice,” said Casavant.

And they got to see lots of it this year. Due to the unusually spate of warm weather, apples came off the tree at least three weeks earlier than usual. So, when Casavant got the call that it was time to juice, it wasn’t possible for the chef association to take part.

That said, the juicing went forward ad 240 boxes were put together Oct. 6,

Then, for Saturday’s contribution  apples from BC Tree Fruits were squeezed and turned to pulp, with an estimated 150 more boxes expected to be made for the food bank, surpassing last year’s juice contribution of 240 juice boxes.

Next year Casavant has high hopes that they’ll be able to do even better, perhaps adding a retail component to the event so they can raise funds for the foodbank.

“Their dollar goes so much further,” he explained.

In addition to learning how juice is made, familes who went to the event were able to enjoy games, face painting, apple bobbing and hot dogs on the BBQ.

Many were also content to drop by BC Tree Fruits market and drop by the cidery to enjoy their Broken Ladder Craft Cider made from local apples.

The focus of International Chefs Day is for chefs from 72 countries to generate awareness of their profession by hosting events to raise funds or awareness in the community while helping local organizations.