Hot Off the Press!
World Apple Day, Calling all Apples for Finnriver, Local Food Banks
"Every Fall different people tell us about the heaps of apples they see dropping to the ground in someone's back yard. We want to try to collect some of these apples this year and see what kind of cider they can make," comments Crystie Kisler, co-owner of Finnriver. "We'd like to make the most of these locally grown apples and prevent waste of fruit that would otherwise not be used."
Kisler goes on to explain that traditional ciders on the frontier were fermented from "funky apples," high in tannins and bittersharp or bittersweet flavors that made them inedible as fresh fruit but quite good as a fermented beverage. The complexity of traditional hard ciders comes from the earthy character of old apple varieties. "Of course people like to use their apples for fresh eating, pies, apple juice and applesauce, but if there are apples that cannot be turned into food because of their funky flavor, they can be turned into drink," says Kisler.
Finnriver is inviting people to collect these otherwise neglected backyard apples and bring them to select locations around the Olympic Peninsula on World Apple Day, October 21st. World Apple Day was established by community organization Common Ground in the United Kingdom in 1990 in order to celebrate the rich heritage of orchards. Common Ground suggests that World Apple Day events are a way to celebrate the unique qualities of each place and they view the apple as a symbol of the need to preserve a community's physical, cultural and genetic diversity.
"One of the challenges to sourcing local backyard apples is figuring out how many are out there and how to get them all picked!" says Kisler. "We'd love to be able to go door to door to talk with folks about their apples but we've had our hands full on the farm. This way we can connect with apple growers and discover what's growing out there." Finnriver is inviting the public to pick their own apples and bring them to select locations on the North Olympic Peninsula, where bins will be set up on October 21st and marked CALLING ALL APPLES. The farm can accept windfall apples (those on the ground) if they are whole and not rotting, since they will be washed and fermented. "In the future, we'd like to be able to purchase more local apples, so this year is also an experiment to discover what quantity and kind of fruit is out there."
Finnriver will press and ferment the collected apples with the hopes of creating a "Backyard Blend" hard cider that features the Olympic Peninsula's unique flavors and is sold only at local markets. A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the "Backyard Blend" would be distributed to regional Food Banks.
Apple drop-off locations include:
Renaissance Cafe in Port Angeles, www.renaissance-pa.com
Alderwood Bistro in Sequim, www.alderwoodbistro.com
The Port Townsend Food Coop in Port Townsend, www.foodcoop.coop
Pourhouse in Port Townsend, www.ptpourhouse.com
Finnriver Farm in Chimacum, www.finnriver.com
Community members will find a clipboard at each location where they may write their name and contact information and an estimate of how many pounds of apples they delivered. Finnriver plans to mail gift certificates to those dropping off apples.
Anyone with comments or ideas or those interested in volunteering with the Calling All Apples project is welcome to contact Crystie Kisler at Finnriver by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 360-732-4337.