Around this time each year, to coincide with Halloween, there is a village apple press, a fund raiser for the village school with Halloween activities for the children. Everyone can bring their apples as long as they have not been treated with any chemicals. You can drop them off having had them weighed and noted, for each kilo of apple you get 500ml of juice. If you bring your own containers it costs 45 cents (for the new top and pasteurisation) or 85 cents for a new bottle and cap. This year we took part staying for the process.
Around 5 years ago we scrumped around 90 kilos of apples to take along, where we also helped out bottling and capping, that juice comes out very hot and as we remember it was a very cold day (completely different from this years weather). We ended up with a lot of bottles of juice that lasted a couple of years, since then we hadn't participated as other things got in the way - lack of apples for one.
We do have, or did have 4 trees, quiet young still which i planted around 4 years ago, one got eaten by the donkeys but seems to be recovery slowly, one blown over in gales this year, one producing around 5 enormous apples and one that produced zero. Luckily we were asked to pick apples in a field down the road (where we scrumped ) before cows were put in there. We managed to gather the fallen ones for the pigs, around 30 kilos with still many on the tree and time short (we are also not known for our great height) there was only one way to get them down. A quick shimmy up the trunk with a big shake we managed to collect 40 kilos a fortnight ago.
Those 40 kilos have been waiting in our cave for yesterday when they were taken, weighed and pulped before being placed in the press where their juice flowed into a large container. The juice then is pasteurised with water passing through tubes to be bottled.
Apparently this year was not good for apples so it was a little bit quieter than normal. A communal lunch was served where all sat at benches with traditional paysanne blanquette de veau.