Friday, October 22, 2010

Windfall of Apples
This fall, my brother Brig took it upon himself to keep as many Southern Idaho apples from rotting on the ground as is humanly possible. He enlisted his whole family as apple-picking agents and also recruited me to join his special forces!

He and his wife Missy loaded their family in the van, picked up me and mom, and drove through the back roads of Idaho looking for neglected apple trees for apple picking. My brother's neighbor had built an apple cider press and a few families in his neighborhood had planned to get together and press cider.

It's amazing how many apples go to waste. Delicious, wild apples from trees that are neglected. Many people just get busy and don't take the time to pick their apples. Perhaps year after year they just get tired of picking and making oddles of apple products with their harvest, so trees go neglected.

But there's something a little sad to me about seeing rotting apples on the ground when there are people who go hungry and when it costs a few bucks a pound to buy apples in the store.

Here's my sister-in-law, Missy, standing by some waxy looking conventional apples.

So, here was Brig's strategy: 1) FIND a tree that's bulging with apples (with apples littering the ground near the trunk) 2) KNOCK on the door of the closest neighboring home. 3) ASK politely to pick the apples, offering the landowner a bushel.

I'm taking this photo from inside the van where we wait to see if we can descend on this guy's trees like a swarm of hungry locusts. Brig is talking to a friendly farmer who said, "sure, take as many as you want, just leave me a bag on my front porch!"

My brother and mother decided to be the tree climbers. It was pretty great to see my 60-something year old mom high in a tree.

Missy is reaching up to pick a lovely apple!

My nephew Dylan has no fear, he was trying to get as high up in the tree as possible. He's part monkey, like this monkey guy.

We collected about 3 large rectangular tubs full of apples, loaded them in the back, then headed home to where we'd press the apples into cider!

We took off the leaves and washed the apples.

This cute guy is my boyfriend Andrew (the one in the background, not the chicken). When Andrew was not distracted by the novelty of feeding Brig's dancing chickens out of his hand, he was helping turn the wheel that pressed the apples into cider!

Pressing cider is a very manly activity!

My sister Cara is helping the kids throw the apples into a hand-cranked grinder.

So what you do, is throw the apples in a little opening in the press that has a nobbly wheel inside, that turns the apples into pulp.

My favorite part of the press is this wonderfully sweet foam!!

What is left after you press out the juice!

This is Brig holding up fresh beer, er, I mean cider. YUM!