Carolyn, one of the scrumpers sent me her thoughts of our pressing day in October so I thought I’d share them with you all. I think it captures the day brilliantly.
“09:00 A cloudy autumn day. An orchard in the shadow of Oldbury Power Station. Two excited children and two slightly tired adults don jackets and wellies and join the group. Bright blue tarpaulins and bright yellow buckets await us.
An explanation of what to put in and what to leave out, then little hands grasp long branches, swinging them back and forth. Apples rain down all around, hitting the ground with a hundred thuds. Grabbing and throwing, into the bucket. “This one’s yucky!”, “Throw that one on the ground then.” Pulling the branches, examining the apples, picking them and taking a bite. A bit sour.
Fun, laughter and discovery. Thousands of apples just on one tree! Buckets full to the brim, one then another, and we’ve only touched the lower branches. It would take all year to pick this orchard! The distinctive smell of fresh apples scents the cool air. Busy hands explore the experience, little bodies squatting and stretching.
After some time, we are ready for a break. Home-made caramel slices and tea as a snack. Then, re-energized, we are off again. Up on shoulders to reach the higher branches. Choose another tree with branches that graze the ground, low enough for Amy and Oliver to reach. Shaking, shaking, the thin twigs in our hands, apples and leaves come tumbling down. ‘Sneezing’ the apples into the bucket amongst shrieks of laughter. Oliver loses his balance and lands in some stinging nettles. Tears are soon distracted by more apple sneezing.
Then back to the bench for some apple pressing to try the freshly squeezed apple juice, fruits of our labours. Amy throws the apples into the press and turns the handle, and out runs the sweet brown juice, sweeter from the green apples than the red. Cider apples, so the juice is tangy, the dry cider taste discernible.
Delicious smells from the pan of sizzling bacon, and the much awaited bacon butties go down a treat. Forty or so people mill around chatting and enjoying the moment.
Then time to make an apple from apples, Amy and I busy ourselves with this creative project. A group photo of the satisfied volunteers. Exchanges of thanks, before weary but happy apple pickers head for home.”