The race called “2015 harvest” has now joined rank & file with the parade of “seasons past”. Before it’s marched clear around the corner into distant memory lane I wanted to share a few snapshots.
We rely on Canadian seasonal workers to pull off the crop. Picking apples is hard work; work that is easily romanticized – that is at least until the “back-to-the-land” dreamer is a couple of buckets in. We’ve had a few turn “back-to-the-city”.
We are grateful to those who have the resilience to stick out the season and stay until the last apples are off. Bonus points to those who stick it out and pick carefully, conscious of bruising and damage to the delicate apples.
We use a great family-run mobile juice operation to press our 5L boxed juice. They have a beautiful belt press. I now have extreme press envy.
Apparently the equipment wish list for this cidermaking hobby-gone-overboard never gets shorter.
Our press teams this season were killing it – we were able to achieve over 2500L per day on our small rack-and-cloth setup. While this output is satisfactory for our current production of ~18,000L, if we plan to grow (we do) we will need to move to a less labour intensive set up. Did I mention how much I’d love a belt press?
Just to add to the crazy, we received our new tank and bottles smack in the middle of harvest. Thanks to Dave’s cool-as-a-cucumber attitude, and Norval Rentals to the rescue when the tank was not crated as expected, everything came together just fine. Sometimes a crystal ball would sure be nice to reassure me that it’s all going to be ok.
And once or twice a season we get take-out and eat it on the trailer in the orchard. I remember my mom, and so many of the prairie farm-wives, bringing full harvest meals out to the field 7 nights a week for the crew. Maybe it’s those childhood memories of tailgate feasts that make me feel like I’m cheating by picking up Subway. Now that I’m no longer blinded by blissful youthful ignorance of what it takes to pull together a meal worthy of any Thanksgiving dinner – while working full time, raising kids, running for machine parts, maintaining a supportive relationship despite mutual exhaustion – seven days a week – I have one word.
Harvest is a sprint & a marathon all in one, no matter what type of agriculture – and for this past season I’m happy that race is already run, and one we ran well.