Archive: Oct 2012

  1. About our Map

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    The green dots () on our map show the City-owned trees which may produce edible fruits or nuts.

    We say “may produce” since some trees are too young (eg. a Turkish Hazel may not produce a yield until its 4th or 5th year) and other trees may not yield fruits or nuts at all (eg. all ginkgo trees are listed on the map, but only the females produce nuts).

    UPDATE 2015:  Since google updated their most recent mapping software, our  layer is no longer displaying on our map, however, an example of what it looked like is below:

    Trees on private property will not be displayed on our map. However, we have created a layer to share statistics such as how many privately-owned trees have been registered for any given ward and how many volunteers have expressed interest in harvesting in each ward.

    Here is an example of the Summary by Ward layer:

    If you are interested in our map, you may also be interested in the following post — an interactive chart summarizing the City-owned, food-bearing trees in each ward.

  2. A Note from Centretown Emergency Food Centre

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    “I would like to thank you for the wonderful donation of fresh produce that you dropped off at our Food Bank the other day. We pride ourselves on the amount of fresh produce and fruit that we are able to give our clients but it is expensive. As we watch our client base rise (in August we served 889 men, women and children which was the most people that we have ever served in one month) and our donations decrease your donation was welcomed with open arms.”

    This note warms our hearts. A HUGE thanks to all those that have made it out to harvest food, and all those who would like to one day – the food that would have otherwise have gone to waste this season made a difference. A few more mouths were full of healthy, local food in your community!


  3. City Trees by Ward – Interactive Chart

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    Below is a visualization of the same data that is on our tree map — the source is the City of Ottawa’s street tree inventory as of November 2011. The green dots () on our map show the City-owned trees which may produce edible fruits or nuts.

    We say ‘may produce’ since some trees will not be producing food, for a few reasons:

    • They have not reached maturity – for example, a Turkish Hazel may not produce a yield until its 4th or 5th year.
    • They are a male tree which will never produce fruit, such as a male Ginkgo tree – only the females produce nuts in this species.

    The City estimates that less than one third of all trees on city property have been inventoried. If the count of food-bearing trees in your ward seems low, then that may mean that 1) the food-bearing trees in your ward are on private or federal land or 2) they have yet to be inventoried by the City.

    April 2013 UPDATE:

    The City of Ottawa has inventoried an additional 100,000 trees which exist on properties that they own (parks, street rights of way, boulevards, etc…). We have updated the data in the chart below:

    UPDATE 2015:  the IBM ManyEyes site which hosted these free visualizations has moved to and we are not sure if or when IBM will port our old visualizations over to this new manyeyes website.

  4. What is Pectin, Anyways?

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    Urban Harvest Canning Workshop

    We rolled up our sleeves for this Harvest Noir-inspired workshop, with attendees arriving not knowing quite what was in store!

    Grapes and grape leaves were gathered in Carlingwood the day prior in true Hidden Harvest style, with half of the gathered goods headed to the nearest food agency. Then we used some of these local fresh grapes, as well as some frozen from a previous harvest, to create grape jam and preserved grape leaves which can then be used to make dolmatas or added into any soups, stews or other savoury dish.

    Squishing the grapes by hand allowed us to use all of the fruit in our jam – and yes, the stain came off!

    Along the way we explored canning basics, such as “What is Pectin, anyways?” (answer below!). Many thanks to Credible Edibles for hosting the space, to Ann Balasubramanian for facilitating, to the thoughtful fruit owners who continue to connect with Hidden Harvest to use their fruit, and all those who came out with big smiles for the workshop. More gorgeous photos by Graham Irvine can be found here.

    The final boil of the jars sterilizes the contents and prepares the jars to seal.

    What is Pectin? Pectin is what allows a jelly to jell.  It is present throughout plant material, more so in non-woody parts, and less prevalent in softer fruits such as strawberries and blueberries. Although pectin is naturally present sometimes it’s concentration isn’t high enough to achieve the desired consistency, and so, often jam and jelly makers will add powdered or liquid pectin just to ensure their work doesn’t turn out to be a syrup.

  5. Food Trees Found in Ottawa

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    We are fortunate enough to live in the apple growing climate zone here in Ottawa, with many options of fruit and nuts that thrive in our area.

    Right now, on city property alone, there are likely nearly 20,000 edible fruit and nut trees in the Ottawa area! So far 20% of City trees have been surveyed and here is what they have found, below.

    This year we’ve harvested Apples and Crab Apples, Grapes and Rhubarb, Black Walnuts and we’re hoping to find a few fruiting Ginkgos before the season ends.

    Next year we’d like to harvest Serviceberries (aka Juneberry or Saskatoon), Pears, Plums, Cherries, Hazelnuts… and one day we’d love to find some Pawpaws or Quince!


  6. About Plant Hardiness Zones

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    When selecting a tree, the plant hardiness zone can help you determine if it is likely to survive the weather in your area based on the average climatic conditions of years past.

    Ottawa is considered to be in zone 5a. So while you may have success growing trees which are rated for less hardy zones (eg. zones 5b, 6, or 7) your tree will have a better chance at survival if it is hardy to zone 5a or a slightly cooler zone like 4a or 4b.

    Note that if a tree is said to be “hardy to zone 4” then it can likely tolerate a minimum temperature of −34.4 °C. A reference table relating growing zones to temperature can be found here.

    This image is based on Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s Plant Hardiness Zones of Canada 2000 Map

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