Friends of ours who live down the road, have a daughter who lives in an old orchard!
We were invited by this young woman and her husband to join them for their annual event. They invite friends and neighbors to bring an empty jug and fill it with the freshly squeezed juice from apples their guests pick.
The weather was Indian Summer. Warm, sunny, clear skies and Atlantic Autumn colour as far as the eye could see.
We brought baskets and bags to collect apples, and an extra ladder in case it was needed. It wasn’t.
As it turns out, there are as many ways to pick apples as there are to eat them.
Some climbed the trees and shook the apples out of it, others carefully picked with a twist off the tree, and still others picked up off the ground.
All the apples were brought back to the yard, washed, then trimmed clean of bruises or other marks, and tumbled into the apple grinder before the mash was pressed for the juice.
Dozens of people picked alongside toddlers, and youngsters grouped together with a wheelbarrow to gather on their own. Back in the yard, a few young girls helped fill the wash bucket with water from the hose, and another offered to fill jugs with juice for adults who were visiting with friends. Three or four adults armed with paring knives did the trimming and passed the cleaned apples off to the presser, usually someone with enough strength to turn the crank that pushed the press down into the mash, but a few pre-teen boys had their turn at seeing who could do it better, faster, or longer.
Guests brought smoked salmon, cheese, fruit, crackers, jam, and cookies to keep pickers, trimmers and pressers refreshed.
It sounds like an event from days gone by. It sounds quaint and lovely, and it was.
Old friends coming together. New friends being introduced. Young families picking apples with their children. Laughing together, enjoying the process of making juice like it’s something to celebrate, and it IS.
The summer is over, and helping us to say goodbye to long hot days and evenings of fanning ourselves on the porch, are days like these - warm autumn days spent celebrating the fall and all the harvest brings.
I wish children everywhere could celebrate the harvest as we have today.
I know it’s likely that people do this elsewhere, too, but this is why I feel so at home here. Maritime LOVE!