Maple City as Cider City? Bounty of Apples Raises Prospect of Communal Press
August 26, 2013, Phil Metzler
When we moved here two years ago, one of the only trees around our house was an overgrown apple tree with a few spotty apples. Last year, because of the late frosts, it bore nothing at all. This year, of course, is a different story. We got apples… but what do we do with them?
The overwhelming bounty of tree fruit in the area has been a great conversation topic; references to “breaking” limbs and ambitious preservation goals are common. The abundance of fruit is drawing our eyes to trees we may not have noticed before. Perhaps I’m a bit biased as a newcomer, considering that my first year here was such a terrible one for fruit. Last year, we had no idea that the sour cherry trees along our property line could bear so prolifically, and we’ve only recently stopped harvesting surprisingly sweet mulberries.
My wife and I had several conversations this winter about whether to let our apple tree go, prune it heavily (we’d have to find someone who knew what they were doing) or even cut it down to reclaim the play area it was planted in. I’m grateful for our indecision, since the apples loading it down turned out not to be the “spitters” we feared, but tasty on their own and a great base for cider.
We’ve enjoyed several cider pressing sessions already with some friends who fortuitously invested in a press this winter. It provided the perfect opportunity to wonder aloud how we might take more advantage of the abundance as a community. My friend Greg has gleaned many bushels from random trees around town whose owners have been happy to see them picked. Mapping these trees and others was one idea, but how do we encourage and educate folks to use them? What about a community cider press that neighborhoods or groups could borrow for local harvest and cider parties?
Questions turned into ideas, which turned into a rough vision that we’re introducing on Tuesday. Transition Goshen will be hosting a meeting at the Goshen Public Library (lower level, 7 p.m.) to explore how we might address all of these possibilities in creative, collective ways. For more information about the ideas and resources we’ll be building on, visit www.transitiongoshen.org/apple.
Transition Goshen has been exploring a variety of opportunities to increase urban food production and reduce food waste while building community relationships. We hosted an “open space” this past spring on urban food production, led a workshop on edible forest gardens and organized a tour of a local home orchard. Other organizations are also supporting food initiatives to engage youth and strengthen neighborhoods, and we’re helping to weave them together.
What might Goshen look like with a little more fruit? Check out Aaron Kingsley’s insights in his March 14 Goshen Commons feature. We hope some fresh effort to harvest the low-hanging fruit will help catalyze a bigger vision. Please let us know what you think.