Apple Pressing Success

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Saturday 3rd October dawned grey, misty and unpromising. However, by 8.30am, an encampment of gazebos had been erected in the woodland, with power and water run through from houses in Crossfields so that hot drinks could be supplied. 9.00am saw the two apple presses in action and quantities of apple juice being produced. And, for an hour, that was just about that — those of us who were there enjoyed drinking the apple juice and the sales of hot drinks were almost non-existent. This clearly suggests that a 10.00am start was definitely not a good idea for many folk!

It would be good to say that the weather improved by 11.00am, but it didn't. The mist did begin to lift but the grey cloud-cover persisted and we began to wonder whether we were doing the right thing. And then, a family or two at a time, folk began to arrive (perhaps reminded by the text message sent out by Mr Davies, the Head Teacher). What's more, they came carrying buckets and bags full of apples to feed the presses. The children's faces were a picture as they watched the pressing and they found the notion that they could then drink the juice from their own and from their friend's apples literally wonderful. One family brought along pears — and the difference in taste was very marked.

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By 12.30pm, there was a really good crowd. Tarvin Wildlife Watch (run by Sandra Hill and her helpers) had the youngsters doing apple bobbing, throwing apples into buckets and engaging in various crafts such as apple printing and producing their own creatures (some quite frightening) based on an apple. Cheshire Wildlife Trust ran an apple peeling competition for a while, until the young lady operating it sustained an injury from the machinery! Nevertheless, the Wildlife Trust representatives were able to talk to a lot of people, explaining their work and signing up some new members.

Perhaps the best measure of the crowd size is provided by the hot food. As well as tea, coffee and squash, we provided hot dogs and beef burgers. We deliberately set out with the intention not to make a profit — all charges made were intended only to cover costs. But, clearly, we didn't want to waste money that people have given us to run the woodland and so we felt we must be circumspect in our purchases, buying only 72 burgers and 72 sausages — all from Wallace Dutton of Kelsall. We experienced mixed feelings when we realised that we were going to run out of hot food but it was quite a relief that catering for 144 people wasn't a gross overestimate! (Sorry!) The day just about broke even, which was the intention. And, since not everyone had hot food, we can assume that at least 200 people were there — a good crowd for a first attempt.

Thus our aim — for families to be able to come and have a different sort of fun (which wasn't expensive) in the woodland — was realised. Many, many people told us how much they enjoyed the day. Dog walkers stopped and got involved. We even had a cyclist who arrived, cycled home and then returned with apples! Will we repeat the day again? The answer is a resounding "YES"! Trustees were so pleased with how the day had gone that they've agreed to repeat it on Saturday 1st October 2016 — but between 11.00am and 3.00pm instead, to allow for Tarvin folk to have a Saturday morning 'lie in'!

A marvellous set of photographs of the event have been taken by Kirsty Thorp and Roy Brereton and these can be found at:-
http://www.tarvincommunitywoodland.org/html/apple_pressing_2015.html

Trustees would like to offer grateful thanks to:-

  • All of our members and friends who turned out and worked so hard to make the day a success.
  • Simon Harding and his crew from Broomheath Plantation, who made large-scale juice production look really easy.
  • Clive Richardson, who brought his smaller press over and showed how small-scale production of juice can be achieved simply and quickly.
  • Sandra Hill and her helpers with Tarvin Wildlife Watch, who gave the youngsters much enjoyment and fun while they learned a little more about nature.
  • Tracey Gibson and her helpers of Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
  • Andrew Davies, Head Teacher, for the loan of equipment and for much help with the publicity.
  • Roy Brereton and Kirsty Thorp for super photographs of a memorable day.
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To all of these people and to all the folk of Tarvin who came along and made the day such a resounding success, we say a very sincere 'Thank you all very much!' See you next year!