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Apple Fest offers tasty solution to excess fruit

Jasper Local Food Society board members Ashley Kennedy and ryAn eSch (correct capitalization) operate an apple cider press during the second annual Apple Fest at the community garden on Oct. 2, 2021. | File photo

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

There’s another reason to pick all of the apples from your apple trees. Apple Fest is making its triumphant return this weekend and everyone is invited.

Bring your apples and your friends to the Community Garden at 305 Connaught Drive on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s the third annual offering of the food security-minded event.

“We’re really hoping that this will actually have a good turnout because of everything going on and more people will put the effort in knowing that there’s somewhere they can bring the apples and make juice or ciders or what have you,” said Beth McLachlan, communications manager for the Jasper Local Food Society, the organizer of the event.

An apple is one of the simplest and most nutritious fruits ever to grace the end of a branch. It’s also one of the most versatile, as anyone who has ever enjoyed apple juice, applesauce and apple pie can attest.

“There’s so many things, apparently,” McLachlan said. “I’m learning so much about what we can make out of these apples.”

The one proviso is that, before you arrive, you have to make sure that you’ve harvested all of your apples first. Volunteers and other participants can help you cut and wash them before they get to the press.

The press is a weighty piece of equipment that does all of the work for you.

“You can take the juice; you can take the pulp that comes out with it. We can help people figure out what kind of recipes they can make. We’re going to try to have a little resource going on about what you can make out of your juice, like apple cider vinegars, different things like that,” McLachlan said.

“It’s gonna be a learning experience for me too, because I’ve never pressed an apple in my life.”

A limited supply of empty jars will be available for the end result. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own jars if they have them.

“You can take the juice and share it with your neighbour or put it in the fridge and use it down the line,” McLachlan said.

Furthermore, you can feel satisfied at the end of the day that you didn’t just leave your apples to rot on the tree or invite the bears back into town with your low-hanging fruit.

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