Yesterday, Mr. Wetzel and I went to the Curran Apple Orchard in University Place, WA for their annual cider squeeze. Earlier this year, we “adopted” a Gravenstein apple tree at the orchard, and have attended the “concert in the park” series all summer, but this event was even more packed than all the concerts put together by far. Hundreds of men, women and children were roaming the orchard, picking apples off the trees, grounds or wherever they could find them, and getting jiggy with the blue grass band that serenaded the whole event.
Adopters can sponsor a tree at the orchard for $35 a year to help the non-profit keep a presence in the community. As adopters, we are encouraged to prune our tree (which there are several training days for), and we are permitted to pick apples off our tree all summer long. On the Cider Squeeze day, anyone can pick from any tree.
We picked our apples earlier in the week. They were bright red and very juicy, and they filled about a half a milk-crate. (We left a lot of apples on the tree.)
There were electric and mechanical cider presses available. We ended up with a Wetzel-powered cider press. I put the apples in one by one…
…and Mr. Wetzel cranked away. (He’s concentrating a little too much to look too chipper here about getting his picture taken).
After all the fruit was pulverized, the volunteers that were helping us got to work pressing the juice out of the pulp. Their old-fashioned press cranked a round wooden plank onto the apples, and as in screwed down tighter, the juice flowed.
We ended up with 3/4 gallon of fresh, raw apple cider. Yum!!!