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Barrie FruitShare program helping to feed those in need

Alyssa James, Special to the Examiner



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Life is a bowl of cherries.

For Josephine Boos, it’s a backyard full and she’s using Barrie’s FruitShare program to share the wealth.

The purpose of FruitShare Barrie is to provide a system to help homeowners like Boos who have an abundance of produce while benefitting local charities.

When discussing her life and the history of her home, Boos’s spirit is discernible. At 90 years old, she is in the process of writing two books.

Boos has lived in the same home since 1972. The neighbourhood is lush, lined with shrubs, flowers and fruit trees. The branch of a beech nut tree hangs over her driveway. In her backyard, more than a dozen clay-coloured pots of tomatoes and bell peppers line the concrete patio.

We used to have a big, beautiful garden,” Boos said. “We had a good garden going. We had fruit trees and loads of tomatoes and carrots.

“All the vegetables. It was a flourishing backyard.”

Four wicker baskets sit under the tree, waiting to be filled by the plump, red sour cherries.

The cherry tree was planted as a sapling by her grandson, many years ago.

She is physically unable to collect the cherries herself so they often go to waste.

“Well, in previous years, while I still could, of course, I was collecting them, cooking them up, making pies, or just cooking them and eating them as a dessert,” she said.

“Last year they (cherries) got frozen out and then before that the birds got them all. But this year the crop is so abundant.”

Upon hearing about Barrie’s new FruitShare program from her good friend Karen Fox, a member of the program’s steering committee, she happily volunteered her tree for the first pick.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, who is heading up the FruitShare program, brought his wife, Teresa Hawkins-Jacoby, and children Brianna Jacoby, 8, and Mary-Jane Jacoby, 6, to participate in the inaugural pick.

“This is our first pick, so we haven’t organized the volunteers yet. The steering committee became the volunteer pickers,” said Jacoby-Hawkins.

The program was launched on Wednesday.

More members of the steering committee were in attendance, sitting on ladders and ducking under branches to help with the collection.

“We’ll leave a third of them here, and a third of go with us, and a third of them we’ll deliver to the Barrie Food Bank,” said Jacoby-Hawkins.

What will he and his family do with their loot?

“We’ll pull out our preserves book...we’re more into jams than pies,” he said.

If you have any fruit that needs picking, send an e-mail to

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