A cool, crisp, mid-September day in a year of an abundance of apples: time for cider making!

Students arrived at the land of faculty members Allison Van Akkeren and Adrian Owens to help unburden the heavily laden apple trees on their homestead. Everyone shook those trees as hard as possible and sorted into apples for cider, cooking, and storage.

Haralred apples were the most abundant. This late-season, long-storage apple is very crisp and has a flavor similar to the McIntosh variety. There were only a few sweet, softer, earlier-season Hazen apples left to add to the mix. Allison and Adrian have been harvesting this variety for weeks for drying, applesauce for canning, as well as making pies and crisp. A good bunch had been added to their nearly daily hot cereal. They also make a sweet, crisp treat right off the branch.

Honeygold apples, another late-season apple, rounded out the cider with their mild “golden delicious – but crisper” flavor. The cider produced was mighty fine. Apples were ground and squeezed to produce nearly fifteen gallons of cider. Students brought most of the bounty back to campus to share with their friends.

Allison and Adrian’s son, Kestrel, collected a special blend of the three apple varieties, added about 15% crab apples and about 20% wild apples from their land, and created a lovely reddish-hued cider to be made into apple cider vinegar.

Still on the trees and just starting to be ready to be harvested are huge Wolf River apples. These apples are great for baking and storage. Many students were attracted to them because of their enormous size. The branches on the trees are happy to be less burdened; however, there are still plenty of apples to share! What a year!

Filed Under: Blog Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems