Greg picked all the apples from about thirty trees, a big job that took several days. For the past week the shed has been filling up with apples in stacked-up fish pans, old plastic buckets, galvanized pails and milk crates. The shed is one of those magical places that, though small on the outside, can -- when need arises --hold a huge amount within. This is one of those times.
Today we pressed the apples from just two trees: the tree down by the fish house and one of the trees that stand along the lower road. The fish house tree gave us a little over four gallons of cider. Last year a big wind blew all those apples off the tree. The fish house apple tree leans out over the rocks along the cove. So even though it's a small tree it is a challenge to harvest. I don't know what kind of tree it is. It could just be a wild apple tree.
The tree along the lower road is something like a Rhode Island Greening. Last year we got one quart from it. This year we got eighteen gallons. We are wondering whether some of our trees bear in alternate years. Another Greening was a big producer last year and had exactly one apple this year. I have read that Rhode Island Greening tends to do this.
Today was sunny and bright, great for cider-making. But it got windier and windier in the afternoon until we finally called it quits. (Also the Patriots were scheduled for five o'clock.) We'll do as much as we can tomorrow, which promises to be another sunny day.
Tonight I drank fresh cider from the maybe Rhode Island Greening tree. Real cider is an amazing sensory experience. I imagine it was a common seasonal drink for people around here before the invention of soft drinks.
But after that everybody forgot what real cider tasted like. It was the time in the world when we all believed things would go better with Coke.
That hasn't worked out so well. But it's not too late to discover cider again.