ramblings from the hive mind

Apple Press

13 March 2009 | View comments
Damien Austin-Walker

Every  year I see apples left to waste and rot either on trees in back gardens or on the ground.  This bothers me, I'd love to have apple trees but my garden is too small.  I also make cider but over the last few years haven't had a good souce of apples.

[thanks to mexicanwave for the great photo under creative commons license]

Last year I did a presentation and session at socialmediacamp london on using social media and the local community to make use of this wasted resource.  Since then I have had some more thoughts and ideas.

  • Pressing apples to get juice either for drinking as is or for making cider is hard.  I have a press but it is very small and it's time consuming to make enough juice.
  • Alot of my local community are from cultures or religions that don't drink alcohol, and it may be discourteous to knock on their door asking for their unused apples to make cider.
  • On mainland europe they have communes or cooperatives where the local community take their grapes (or olives) to be pressed with everyone else's.

To extract the 'maximum juice' from my idea @jonny2love suggested I build in a 'from tree to table' educational aspect to teach local school children where food comes from and also highlight the subject of food miles and using local resources.  So here's the plan...

  • Find a local school or space to keep a large community apple press on it's grounds
  • Fundraise to buy an apple press (or make one)
  • Set up a databank/map of local apple trees that are not currently utilsed
  • Recruit volunteers to
    • Collect apples
    • Press apples
    • Run sessions with school children about how apples grow and apple juice is made
  • Produce guides/workshops for cider making
  • Work out how to distrubute juice
    • for the school
    • for the owners of donated apples

The whole project could culminate in a community feast where the juice and cider is served alongside food made from other local produce, or maybe a fete where juice is sold to raise funds for the school hosting the apple press.

I have set up a wiki for anyone with ideas to add to.  The more educational and community aspects that can be woven in the better. 

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