Thursday, September 27, 2007

Apple Cider Pressing & Heritage Apple Tasting Event

In an earlier post I had mentioned the urban fruit tree project (fruitshare) - we had posted an add in the local paper about harvesting "forgotten" fruit trees around the city, gotten various good responses, and have been busy following up on the calls. So far, we have harvested about 10 bushels of otherwise unused apples, 3 bushels of which were beautiful eating apples that are now being stored in our greenhouse to savour throughout the winter months. 4 bushels we pressed into cider at our local cider mill. We can press 50 litres for a minimum charge of $18, which comes to about $0.36/litre (compared to $2-$3/litre in the store for organic cider!). Our four bushels made about 30 litres, which are unpasteurized, so need to be frozen, used, given away to friends, or turned into hard cider or vinegar. Last night I also canned several jars of wonderfully pink and sweet delicious "wild apple" sauce, harvsted from a forgotten tree in our local conservation area which we happened upon during a walk on the weekend. We are learning never to leave home without a few extra cloth bags, as you never know what you will find along the way that is ripe for the harvest.

On October 21, we have invited our friend Bob Wildfong to host a heritage apple tasting workshop at our place. He is a master gardener at our local pioneer heritage village, where he tends old heritage fruit trees, and grows heirloom varieties of vegetables to be saved for seed. He has also been involved for many years as program manager/president with Seeds of Diversity, a Canadian non-profit organization that is a "source for information about heritage seeds, seed saving, plant diversity, garden history, and your own garden heritage...It is a network of volunteer gardener-members across Canada who grow unusual and rare heritage plants as a preservation project. " We are very excited to host this workshop, and the description is as follows:

Savour over a dozen varieties of delicious heritage apples, and learn the fascinating stories behind them. Do you know which common apple variety was born in Ontario nearly 200 years ago? Have you ever seen an apple that weighs up to 2 pounds? What makes a good baking apple, a good saucing apple, and how can you choose the right varieties for your favourite apple recipes? Sweet, sour, soft, crisp - apples come in more varieties than any other fruit. Learn to appreciate a whole new side of your daily apple. Cost: Pay what you can as a donation to Seeds of Diversity.

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