Monday, October 25, 2010

An Apple A Day

Wednesday night found us in Roswell, NM, at the Red Barn RV Park. This is a small, family-owned park and most of the spaces are occupied by "permanent" residents. They did have a couple of pull-through spots, though, and we just fit in one of them. The owners were very accommodating, and the laundry is convenient and on the "honor system." We enjoyed our short stay there and moved on to Cloudcroft on Thursday to get ready for the wedding of my son, Brian Wann and his fiancee' Debi Hoskins.

Sugar Pines RV Park is similar to the Red Barn in that it's small and family-owned. It's more expensive, though...$40 per night for full hookups and no other amenities. However, it's convenient, just 8 miles or so from Cider Mill Farms where Brian and Debi were married. The farm is owned by Brian's dad, Trenton Wann, and his wife, Barbara. They have their home, and an apple orchard and truck farm on ten lovely acres between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo. We, as well as a gaggle of other family and friends, spent time there Friday, Saturday and Sunday, helping with the apple harvest and preparing for the wedding.


The house has a magnificent view of the farm and White Sands Monument

It's a great place for dogs, too!

During the day the group picked apples, manned the sorter, and boxed the apples for shipment.  Picking must be done very carefully to avoid damaging the apples or the trees.  However, there is always time for sampling some of the fruit. 

Myles and Mallory pick the best ones

Gage samples a Staymon Winesap

Myles is a great chauffeur
Lucky Dog enjoys an apple snack

The sorter is a real workhorse

The venerable apple sorter dates back to the 1930s, and has been rebuilt to handle some 40,000 - 60,000 pounds of apples per season. Each box holds a bushel of apples, and weighs 40 pounds. 

I don't know how many pounds per hour the sorter can handle, but it kept the sorting crew very busy! 
Brian and Debi load the apples

Sorting the apples is a team effort!

Boxes and Boxes of Apples!
All those hard workers get hungry.   On Saturday night, some of the apples which were not "grocery-store perfect" were pressed to make cider. Saturday night, Brian's step-brother, Brad Hlista, made an enormous pot of green chili stew for the group who had worked on picking and sorting apples, and helping with the cider-pressing.   John assembled a new gas grill to help with the cooking, and everyone pitched in to get ready.

Michal, Justine and Audrey shell beans from the garden.

Brad, Brian and Justine collaborate in the kitchen.

John assembled the gas grill

Kids and rejected apples wound up on the compost pile!

Trent adds apples to the cider press

Pressing the cider was quite a production as well.  Each forty-pound box of apples had to be lifted up and poured into the press.  The machine ground up the apples, which were then encased in heavy porous cloth, placed between slatted trays, and stacked in layers to be pressed. 

Then hydraulic pressure was applied, and out came all that wonderful cider!  What a treat!

Gage and Trent inspect the press.

And finally....out comes all that wonderful cider!

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