We Sold Lots of Cider!

We had great success at the Fall Fair this year! Skookum made over $900 selling freshly pressed apple cider, and we gained new 5 memberships over the weekend, and we continued to promote our Co-op to many interested individuals.

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to our dedicated volunteers who helped in many ways. We could do this event without you!  Most of you were choppers, and we chopped and chopped and chopped until ALL of our apples were chopped at about 1:30 on Sunday!  At that point, we had about 40 jars of cider just sitting, waiting to be sold for the rest of the afternoon. We were able to pass along of all the mash (what is left after all the juice is pressed out) to local farmers to feed their various livestock.

THIS is really what Skookum is all about.  Taking excess food from the waste stream, and making good use of it!
As we approach 350 members, we are really starting to make an impact in the community.  Please continue to tell your friends all about us, and encourage them to become members as well.  Together, we really CAN make a difference!

THANK YOU once again to all of you who contributed to such a successful weekend!

Jill Amatt, Treasurer

Help with the Fall afFAIR (Sept 19/20) + The 2015 Rancho Vignola Order is ON

Pete and admirers
Pete and admirers

September 19/20th is the weekend for the smaller version of the regular Fall Fair (renamed FALL afFAIR), up at the Farmer’s Market grounds.  While the hours will be shorter, we will still be there in full form with our Cider Press. This event is a chance for us to press apples to cider, show people how to do it, and raise funds for your cooperative.

If you volunteered last year, fear not!  We have your contact info and will be in touch soon.  If you would like to volunteer, and did not do so last year, please reply to Jill at funktifyd(at)gmail(dot)com

Many thanks to our Treasurer, Jill Amatt, for taking on the rather large job of wrangling the gear & volunteers needed to press cider at the Fall afFair this year, which is happening from 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM Saturday September 19 & Sunday September 20.

We still need a volunteer or two for the following times:

  • Saturday, 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM;
  • Saturday, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM;
  • Sunday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon; and
  • Sunday, 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM.

If you’re up for some fun, please go here and sign up: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oo1TXRRq9Sef5--1v5el9oh_uOssDaPbOJtuZmkRxM4/edit?usp=sharing.

If you’re not volunteering, come on by the press and get yourself a delicious cup or bottle of fresh apple cider.

We will also require the usual list of items that we have needed to borrow from members in the past.  If we have borrowed anything from you for this event in the past, please let me know what the item is, and if you are willing to lend it to us again.  We do have a list and contact info for this as well, so we may start hounding you down soon also!

We are looking forward to another successful weekend of Apple-y goodness!

Remember to refill your Townsite Growlers all Sept. long with $1 each going to Skookum!



Members’ deadline for submitting their Rancho Vignola orders is Friday September 25 by noon. You have until that time to get your order to us with payment either by cheque, direct deposit, or e-transfer. You can drop off a cheque at Kingfisher Used Books (4486 Marine Ave., under the bowling alley).

If you want to learn about the products on offer, check out http://www.ranchovignola.com/products.html. As always, there are some new products this time around (organic pine nuts, reg. hemp seeds, organic apple rings, organic diced dried mangoes, organic sun-dried tomatoes, etc.)

Members, check your email for details!

We need your apples + Support Skookum with Townsite Brewery in September

We will be running our usual Fall Cider Press Event this fall. This event is a chance for us to press apples to cider, show people how to do it, and to also raise some funds for your cooperative.

We need apples!
The success of this fundraiser depends on getting a good supply of apples for free. So if you or someone you know has excess apples, we will gladly take them and press them to cider. They do not need to be the most lovely apples, since if there is one thing that cider is good for, it’s getting rid of large quantities of non-beautiful apples!

We need storage!
If anyone has extra space in their garage, basement or shed, please let us know.  We are hoping to be able to stockpile at least 20 boxes of apples.

 If you have extra apples to donate, or if you want to volunteer to help out, please contact Jill  604-344-0017 or apples@skookumfood.ca

Do you want to rent our cider press (members only), click here.

Click the logo to view their website
Click the logo to view their website

Townsite Brewing is donating $1 to Skookum all September long through their Growler Program, so drink responsibly and get your growlers filled to help fund the Skookum Gleaners project, all September long!

Find out more about the Gleaners Project here, and find out more about the Growler program here.

Creating a Skookum Cider Press Kit

Skookum's cider press
Skookum’s cider press

Hey there members, it’s time to freshen up the Skookum cider press with some maintenance and repairs (anyone willing and able to help with this, please contact skookum@skookumfood.ca) AND we really need to set up a proper kit of materials that can accompany the cider press as it is loaned out to members, or used for public demonstrations/ pressings such as at the Fall Fair. So far, we have borrowed materials each time we need to do a group pressing, which is great. Problem is, it takes an immense amount of time and coordination to reconstruct the kit from scratch every time. So, if you have any of this equipment to donate to Skookum, then please consider it sooner rather than later. Used is fine, if functional.

Email us at skookum@skookumfood.ca to find out where and when you can drop off the materials. We will post what we have received (and what is left on the shopping list below), and send out reminders periodically.

If you cannot donate the materials or equipment, then please consider a monetary donation to the “Creating a Skookum Cider Press Kit” via PayPal, Debit or Credit card or by cheque (c/o SFPC and mail or drop off at Kingfisher Books 4486 Marine Ave. Powell River, BC  V8A 2K2 CANADA). We’ll go on a shopping spree in late summer and try to complete the list.

We accept PR$
We accept PR$

Of course, we accept Powell River Dollars (PR$) too; just drop off your donation at Kingfisher Books. And thanks! Please remember that your membership dollars ($20 for a lifetime membership and redeemable at any time) represent individual shares in Skookum; you own the cooperative as much as any other member. The funds raised through memberships are kept for the most part in reserve, and are not used to cover expenses.

Equipment needed (prices approx.)

(Click on the big “Grow Our Co-op” button at right to make a donation toward any piece of equipment)

canopyBasic set up:

  •  2 awnings (aka event tents or canopies or gazebos) c. $450
  • 2 tarps: 1 to put underneath the cider press and 1 to cover it up overnight (as for Fall fair) c. $50
  • 3 smaller tables (hand washing station; prep table; pasteurization/double boiler set up table) c. $175
  • 1 large table (usually supplied by the Fall Fair) for front service counter. c. $100
  • 2 water hoses (to bring the water closer to you b/c pressing requires a lot of water) c. $65
  • 2 hose splitters (so you won’t be accused of hogging the communal hose and you won’t have to keep running to the tap to turn the hose on) c. $50
  • 2 garbage cans per day for apple crud (or more if you’ll be doing lots of apples) ; with wheels! c. $65
  • Metal Ramp (to allow the press to be rolled or pushed up into a flatbed truck or vehicle) c. $250


  • Large hands-free water container with “tap” for hand washing station c. $23
  • Plastic buckets for waste water (1or 2) c. $18
  • Bleach, pump soap, paper towels (1 each) c. $12
  • Stout spray bottle for bleach sanitizing solution c. $10
  • Cloth rags $5

Processing apples:primaryferm

  • 2 Large food grade, clean plastic tubs (like primary fermenters) for washing apples pre-pressing. 10 gallons ea. c. $80
  • Some large buckets or Rubbermaid to hold the washed apples (4) $40
  • 2 buckets to catch the cider as it flows from the press $20
  • 2 large cutting boards (wood or hard plastic) $20
  • Various knives including a few paring knives (minimum 4) $60
  • 3 or 4 large stainless bowls to put the prepared apples into $40
  • Funnel and strainer $20

Keeping cider cold:

  • Ice packs (several) c.$35
  • (8-12 large bags of ice– one-time purchase on days of event)
  • 2 very large coolers c.$70
  • Biodegradable paper cups (about 250) available from Aaron Vending:  some small for “tasters” and large for selling cold cider. Napkins. c.$35

burnerKeeping cider hot:

  • Matches or lighter $2
  • Propane gas burners (2) $150
  • Hot plate $25
  • Extension cords (3) $30
  • Large canner for boiling water bath $35
  • Large pot to fit inside canner to keep cider hot w/lid $30
  • Ladles (2)
  • Pot holders (6) $40
  • Stem thermometer $25
  • Cider spice sachets (6) $12
  • Mugs for selling cups of hot cider (must be washed and reused, not possible at all locations) $20


  • Some attractive one-colour tablecloths to enhance booth “eye appeal” 4X: $60
  • Blackboard for noting wares and prices $30
  • tracking sheet
  • Tally sheets on clipboards to keep track of sales
  • Pens
  • Bug spray and sting relief (for bees/wasps; antihistamine) $20
  • Paper bags and ties as wasp deterrents (in a bad wasp year, use lots!) $3

Optional (if for Fall Fair or other demo)

  • Info sheets on upcoming or happening projects
  • Waterproof Displays of whatever relevant kind to enhance booth eye appeal and advertise the coop and its mission, pens, sign up sheets for Skookum and press info.
  • Compact chairs for weary workers to sit on!

Catching (and Wrapping) Up

Happy Holidays and thank you for helping to make local food happen.

It’s been a very busy Fall for Skookum so far this year; and as we head into 2013 it’s ‘whiplash time’ as we look back to see what we accomplished, and forward on how we can do more and better. 2012 was the UN-designated Year of the Cooperative and we are working on airing a 5-program series on cooperatives on CJMP 90.1 FM Community Radio before year end. Keep your ears (and eyes, as we will be promoting it) peeled.

You may remember seeing some pictures on our Facebook page  from our last event of 2012, as several of us helped press apple cider for James Thomson Elementary School’s Farm to School program. We had another successful Abundant Pantry order (next order will be mid-January 2013, check the site in January to order), and we’re just about ready to distribute over 500 lbs of dried fruit/nuts/confectionery from our second Rancho Vignola order that just came in.

Skookum is more than bulk buying, though, and we’d like to increase our workshops and other hands-on projects in 2013. That said, one great reason to have a cooperative is to be able to generate some buying power as a group, and in doing so, also help the community and the cooperative grow and increase self-sufficiency.

Buying seed together.

Last year just after Christmas, I started thinking about and then planning a bulk seed order. A dozen or so members got together and I coordinated an order from our local Eternal Seeds company, who gave us a 20% discount overall if we collectively bought 10 packets of any of their seeds (about 5% was allocated to Skookum and the coordinator). This year, the feedback indicates that we need to order earlier than the February 14th deadline we had last year, by at least a month.

If anyone out there would like to manage the seed order (and the project can be as different as you like), please drop us a line or fill out a short proposal here. Deadline for a proposal or indication of interest in managing this project is EXTENDED to Dec. 30, 2012. The deadline to order should be by Jan 14, 2013.

Below we have a list of our completed projects for 2012, and in addition to these, we have an on-going Abundant Pantry bulk food order every two months. All our past projects are listed on our past projects webpage.

January 2012:

  • Skookum held a potluck members’ social event to celebrate 2012, the UN International Year of the Co-op. Read the story here.

March 2012:

  • Bulk seed order from Eternal Seeds

June/July 2012:

  • Skookum held 2 home tanning workshops

August 2012:

  • Bulk purchase of fruit/vegetables and dehydrating work party at the Community Resource Centre

September 2012

  • Skookum’s second Tattler lid bulk order
  • Bulk purchase of Sausagemaker dehydrators
  • Skookum was at the Fall Fair, pressing cider and raising funds

October 2012

  • Second Rancho Vignola Fruit and Nut Bulk Order

November 2012

  • Skookum helps the local Farm to School project press apples for James Thomson Elementary School for a second year.

Fall Fair Fabulousness

Pete and ‘the son of Spiderman’, with requisite admirers

Whew! Some 20+ Skookum members and friends were on hand this past weekend for year 2 of our Fall Fair cider-pressing/processing/vending presence, and we provided a very good show indeed! Not to mention delicious fresh, lightly spiced hot and cool cider, sold by the mug ($1) and by the 32-oz bottle ($5).

This Skookum fundraiser raised somewhere in the neighbourhood of $500 after expenses. We would like to thank all the apple donors as well as those folks and organizations (CJMP springs to mind) who let us use their materials and equipment. Very special thanks to Board member/taskmaster David (who organized the whole shebang this year, taking cues/tips from Jax), our president and chief im/presser Pete, Jacqueline herself, Jan (and husband Gary, both working behind the scenes to make sure we had the press, bottles and materials we needed), and former director Sharon!

Members Stacy, Annabelle, Connie, Patricia (and her husband John), Melissa (and her daughter Chelsea), Emma, Lyn, Dan, and many others I met for the first time worked so hard (many on both days of the fair!) and were so generous with their apples and materials/equipment to make the event a success. You can spot some of them on our Facebook page photo gallery (plus videos).

Remember that the press belongs to Skookum members, and as a member you can rent it for just $20/day (see details here).


Goin’ Squirrely

Did someone say “nuts”?

Skookum is all about projects that serve our cooperative, and that benefit the co-op as well as the wider community, too. It’s members helping members to grow, pick, prepare, preserve, store, and share in the bounty of food.

The accent these early autumn days is on ‘store’ and ‘preserve’. With a mega-load bulk purchase of Tattler BPA-free reusable lids (drop by our table at the Fall Fair Sept 22-23, 2012 to buy a sample pack or extra rubber rings; help out with our apple cider pressing event there or donate apples to this Skookum fundraiser: Click here) and Excalibur dehydrators in, several small Skookum work parties where members processed, canned and dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and yet another Abundant Pantry bulk food purchase period under our belts, it’s time for the once-per-year order of this season’s freshest dried fruit, nuts, seeds, plus delicious and decadent confectionery from Rancho Vignola.

  • Rancho Vignola makes their product list available only once per year, when the nuts and fruit are at their freshest;
                          • The final deadline for our order to go in is September 27, BUT the final deadline for members to get their order and payment to us will be 12:00 noon on Monday September 24;
                          • They will ship to us in November or thereabouts;
                          • We need to make a minimum order of $500; Shipping is free
                          • Skookum will be adding 11.11% to each member’s order, so that of each dollar spent, 5¢ goes to the coordinator, 2.5¢ to Skookum, and another 2.5¢ to the benefit of the community.

What you need to do:

  • Take a look at Rancho Vignola’s price list click here.
  • If you have questions, please contact David as soon as possible at skookum@skookumfood.ca;
  • Otherwise:
    •  print out the attached price list
    • mark the products you wish to order, and
    • calculate the total price. Don’t forget to add 11.11% at the very end (i.e., not for each item individually, but on the final total; If you prefer, you may simply email David with the list of products you want and a final tally. He’ll verify the total amount and get back to you);
  • Get the order form and payment (cash or cheque only) to Kingfisher Books at 4468 Marine Ave. in Powell River no later than 12:00 noon on Monday September 24No money means no order!
  • We have a a splits page (click here), as we do for The Abundant Pantry Bulk-Buying Club. [For example, a member might want to order almonds but might not want the whole ten pound case (which has a better price than smaller units)]. If someone else wants to split that amount, then one of them can order it and then the two members can arrange to split it between them later.
  • To be clear: The coordinator WILL NOT MANAGE YOUR SPLITS; all splits will be between members, with one member ordering and paying for the entire item to be split.
  • Any questions? Please get in touch with David ASAP at skookum@skookumfood.ca

As always, members are encouraged to propose and run projects! Interested in running your own Skookum  project? Submit a quick proposal here.

Just the facts.

Funding our projects (accent on “fun”)

A condensed version of our Mission/Vision/Purposes

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative is a registered non-profit Community Service cooperative. As the graphic above reads, our goal is to “build and maintain a healthy regional food system”, together. Unlike a Society, our members are part-owners (our one-time $20 membership fee is also one share in Skookum). Our first priority is to help eachother (as members) to achieve our own personal ‘food-security’, and by doing so, increase awareness and local food action in the wider cooperative and community.

We do this in several ways, all of which require supports of various kinds. This includes having the cash reserves to be able to purchase or rent tools, space, land, materials, books, videos, etc. as well as to have seed money on hand to kick-start projects and pay coordinators and teachers to lead workshops and work parties.

Here is a fast-approaching opportunity to contribute some time, have fun and learn something about cider pressing (p.s. kids LOVE this):

It’s time to help your cooperative raise a little money and tell people what we’re all about up at the Fall Fair again this year.

We could especially use some assistance with getting the cider press and other gear up to the Fall Fair in the morning on Saturday Sept. 22 (around 10:00 AM), and getting it all back to town on Sunday afternoon (after 5:00 PM). Let us know if you’d be willing & able to help with that even for a short while. We need APPLES too! (email us at skookum(at)skookumfood(dot)ca or better yet, sign up or let us know you have apples to donate by clicking here. Did we mention that it’s fun

It takes active members to make a cooperative truly cooperative.

Along these lines, we have an autumn-budding Skookum Fundraising Committee forming to identify appropriate ways to engage our members, the wider community and funding organizations with an eye to increasing our cooperative’s long-term financial viability. There are crucial tools, equipment and materials that we can cooperatively own that will make our membership more food secure, and seed money —literally for seed and for project start-up costs — without which our cooperative can’t grow. Keep your eye on our website‘s sidebar to see how we will be asking you to donate to specific, targeted funds in the coming weeks.

We’ve already begun to work on some of these aspects (as you will see below) but we need a dedicated member-driven team to develop and maintain fundraising momentum. Interested in joining and shaping a Skookum Fundraising team? Just contact me (Giovanni, Skookum’s Communications/Fundraising Director) and write me with your ideas, talents, time availability, and ideas! 

Below are some basic ideas to get your fundraising juices flowing; if you have any other ideas or more specific instances of these ideas working in Powell River but cannot commit to a team right n0w, please include your ideas as a comment on this page (at bottom):

Brownie and Annabelle, Skookum members to the max!

 Community Outreach/Newsletters- Newsletters, whether done through the mail or email, are effective marketing and fundraising tools. They are a great way to update our current members or interested people and an opportunity to list events, wish lists, ask for donations, and cultivate volunteers.

At left, you can see the result of a very recent literacy campaign featuring two very Skookum members doing what they love, with some promo for us as well! (Huge thanks to the two lovely ladies pictured here, the PR Literacy Council and to David Parkinson in helping to set this up!)

 Garage sales (membership-wide)– Selling some higher end items such as washer/dryers etc. and have people in our group go through things they no longer need and ask friends and family to do the same. Advertise in the newspaper and online at craigslist.org.

Bake Sale– Have members and friends who like to make baked goods for our sale. Have literature about us available and have a sign in sheet for future contacts.

 Holiday-related wreath or other sales– Make them at a work party and sell at local events or take orders for wreaths and deliver them to a central location for pick up.

Matching gifts- Collect money within your group to total $1,000 and ask for others in the community to help match it.

Raffles- Raffles can be great tools for fundraising especially if you combine them into an event and have really great items to win. Offer something such as $1.00 a ticket or $13.00 for 15 tickets or $20.00 for 25 tickets. Encouraging people to buy more tickets for the extra “free” tickets is worth it and can generate quite a bit of money quickly. Prizes will be donated by local businesses or individuals.

Store percentage sales- Connect with a local business that would be willing to donate part of their profits for a day or one day a month, and then make sure you let people know to buy there on this day.

Pledges- Have our group gather pledges.

Events- Events give us the opportunity to speak about our organization and raise money. There are many different kinds of events and all are beneficial to fundraising in their own ways. Here are some examples:

  • Musical or performance events- Ask a local band or improv/theatre/ arts group to donate some or all of the profits from an event to our co-op.
  • Dinner or Breakfast Events- Informal events sponsored by Skookum can be great PR and raise funds. We can host a special themed dinner and a movie, High Tea, or pancake breakfasts, etc. and charge a certain fee. Or we could host it for free and ask for donations from attendees. Many stores will offer donations of products that can be used in this kind of event. Pledge cards could be used simultaneously with this event.

Create an activity day– focus on the activities of our co-op and create an activity or video that educates the public about our organization and an opportunity to educate people about our mission. Show this at our events.

Auctions- Many businesses donate items to help organizations, we are a nonprofit so  more stores will be apt to give. A silent or live auction is a fun way to increase funds and generate interest in your organization. Auctions need a lot of PR and require start up costs, so it is best to build up a following before having one.

Skookum helps press cider for Farm to School lunch

Skookum's Farm to School cider-pressing task force: Coco Hess, Martin Mitchinson, and David Parkinson

On Monday November 28, Coco Hess, Martin Mitchinson, and I got an early start. We picked up Skookum’s cider press from Jan & Gary’s workshop in Westview, and drove up to Wildwood to press apple cider for the James Thomson Elementary School’s second Farm to School lunch. We spent the morning cutting and grinding apples,— with the help of many enthusiastic kids — pressing those apples into beautiful cider.

This all came about because I had been talking with some of the amazing young moms who have been working hard to create a monthly healthy and local school lunch for the schoolchildren at James Thomson. They put together a fantastic salmon lunch for their kickoff event in October and wanted to feature apples for the November lunch. Once they knew that Skookum had a cider press,once the Skookum board of directors had OK’d the donation of the cider press to this good cause, the plan was in motion. Coco and Marty were the lucky volunteers chosen from among quite a group of Skookum members willing to help out,with some extra assistance and equipment from Jacqueline Huddleston we were off and running.

It was a pretty chilly morning, but we warmed up soon enough, what with all the activity and the kids yelling and running around. Just about everyone got a chance to turn the crank to grind the apples to pulp, to throw chopped apples into the hopper, and to help turn the wheel to press the pulp into cider. We had a gas stove and double-boiler so that we could pasteurize the cider for safe consumption. One after another, classes came outside, did their turn at the press and then headed inside for a short video and discussion about healthy juice and sugar content.

The next day I was lucky enough to be able to go to the meal where the kids were served rainbow pasta with local vegetables, yummy coleslaw, bread baked with hand-milled flour by Nancy’s Bakery in Lund, and of course a little bit of apple cider for everyone. It was so lovely to see all the schoolchildren enjoying a delicious and healthy meal with local ingredients. I talked to a few of them and they all raved about the apple cider.

Thanks to Leta, Francine, and all the other parents who worked so hard to make this meal happen. And thanks for inviting Skookum to be a part of it. Special thanks to Coco and Marty for taking half a day out of their busy lives. And of course, thank you to all of the schoolkids of James Thomson who helped make cider.

For more information on the James Thomson Farm to School program, you can check them out on Facebook.

Ça presse!

Cider-making by the letter: Jacqueline Huddleston and Sharon Deane pouring hot cider into bottles.

Members of the cooperative were up at the Fall Fair this past weekend pressing and selling delicious fresh apple cider, using Skookum’s cider press. Thanks so much to all our volunteers and to everyone who dropped by to say hi and enjoy some hot or cold cider. Special thanks to Jan & Gary Burnikell for service above & beyond the call of duty; and to Jacqueline Huddleston for dealing with the permit and creating an organized kitchen. (Click here to see more of our pictures.)

We made a gr total of $129.86 for Skookum. This would have been more if we had not had to buy apples from Bernie — although it’s a good thing we did, because otherwise we would have run out of apples to press. Next year we’ll be hoping for more apples contributed by our members and from the community. We’ll be coming after you!

And don’t forget that the cider press is available for rental to Skookum members only. You can find out the details here, but the basic bottom line is that at $20/day, this is the best deal ever!

Buen provecho!
David Parkinson
Treasurer, Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative

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