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Apple feast

A record number of people came to the annual apple day in Portmoak Community Orchard on October 2nd. We counted at least 160, well up on previous attendance. The numbers were particularly welcome as we had one of our biggest harvests since we planted the apple trees back in 2011 and 2012.

The first job was to pick the fruit and we had a lot of enthusiastic help, especially from the children who came along. As soon as we had enough, the apples were wheelbarrowed across the road to Portmoak Village Hall where they were poured into a machine and chopped up, ready for turning into juice.

Back in the orchard, the crushed fruit was heaped into a big apple presser, which was turned by hand to get the juice flowing. This was put into bottles for everyone to take away.  It was tough work and Portmoak Community Woodland Group were very grateful to all who helped. 

People quickly worked up appetites and there was plenty of food. We had spent the days before the event preparing lots of apple-themed home baking, which included warm apple crumbles and apple cake. There was tea and coffee and, of course, fresh apple juice, to wash it all down.

It wasn’t ‘all work and no play’ and there were lots of games and quizzes for the youngsters, though some of them preferred to carry on helping with the harvest. 

The only disappointment was the absence of our good friend Andrew Lear aka ‘appletreeman’ who had to pull out for family reasons. He has always been there in the past, to identify apples brought from peoples’ gardens and to bring a wonderful display of his own apples. 

We did our best to fill the gap by putting together a display of fruit from the orchard and from nearby gardens but we lacked his expertise in identifying the mystery apples brought by visitors.

The fine, sunny weather helped to make it a great afternoon. We are delighted to report donations amounting to more than £400 which will go towards the hire of equipment on the day, maintenance of the orchard and the planting of new fruit trees later this autumn. In the orchard’s tenth anniversary year it was wonderful to see this flourishing community event and now that it’s over, it’s also lovely to see the birds and other animals enjoying what’s left of the windfalls.

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