Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ann Larkin Hansen: Postcard from a Wisconsin Farm — Annual Apple Harvest Party

We’ve got apple fever around here, with talk of picking and cider-making, and swapping of favorite apple recipes. Author Ann Larkin Hansen chimes in with this postcard from her farm, where, just last weekend, family, friends, and neighbors took part in an annual apple-picking party under blue, blue September skies.

Early-arriving pickers begin with the Honeycrisp apple tree
“The best parties always involve sawhorses,” someone once said to me, and so it is with our annual apple harvest party. The biggest and (everyone agrees) most fun yearly event we have on the farm, the party involves plywood laid on sawhorses to make tables, plus washtubs for rinsing dirt and bugs off the apples before they go in the grinder and finally, into the cider press.
Nephew Jimmy mans the cider press
This year, about 35 relatives, friends, and neighbors showed up to pick, wash, grind, and press what we think was between 25 and 30 gallons of cider — hard to tell exactly, due to the general bedlam. One of the best parts for me, always, is the little kids — climbing in the trees, throwing apples at the heifers, and running to ride in the six-wheeler when we take the garbage can of full de-juiced apples out to dump in the woods for the deer. 

Some of the smaller nieces and nephews prefer to climb instead of pick
We always end with ordered-out pizza and a campfire. Families slowly pack up apples, cider, and kids and say their goodbyes, while those who are staying the night pull up chairs to the fire and talk. 

Ann Larkin Hansen is the author of The Organic Farming Manual, The Landowner's Guide to Managing Your Woods, Finding Good Farmland, and Electric Fencing. A long-time journalist, she has worked as a staff writer for Corporate Report Minnesota and regional editor for The Country Today, as well as contributing to Mother Earth News. She writes and farms in Wisconsin.

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