We have established two food forests in Ottawa, Ontario, one is affectionately known as the "Basecamp" food forest (and happens to occupy the front/back/side yards of my house, while the other is the "Flagship" food forest being established at the Just Food Farm in Blackburn Hamlet (east Ottawa), for use as a working food forest example for public tours and workshops. Though these food forests are both very young (Basecamp is 5 years old, Flagship turns 3 this year), they are starting to be very productive. Each year they will produce more and more food as the plants and trees grow and hit their maturity (peak productive years). Just imagine that when a female arctic kiwi vine reaches maturity (at 7-10 years of age) she can produce up to 50kg of fruit, and will continue to be productive for decades. That's a lot of kiwi I reckon! Healthy apple trees typically have 100+ year lifespans, pear trees live to 200+ years, pine nut trees well beyond that... The notion of food forests is bigger than you or I, its a generational gift and endeavour!
The other exciting thing is that each year, the forests have different 'personalities', depending on what plants and trees are having a particularly good or bad year. This year looks like another great year for those plants of the Ribes genus, those include the currants (black, red, and white) and the different varieties of gooseberries. There are around 150 known members of the Ribes genus. Perhaps we are under-achieving by only growing 7 of them in our Ottawa forests, but what a 7, a mighty 7! Check out some pictures of the 2016 crop (of black currants and gooseberries) as the fruits are forming. Ripening soon in a food forest near you! Low-sugar blackcurrant jam to follow!