Category Archives: Apple Cider pressing

Community Cider Pressing and Old-Time Music Jam


Ahhh! The might Gravenstein apple! It’s that time of year in Sonoma County. The Gravensteins are rolling down the streets of our neighborhood and we just couldn’t see them go to waste. So, we dusted off the family apple press and put out the word for folks to bring their apples over. Some people wanted apple juice and some people were pressing specifically to make their own hard cider. Either way it was a fun event.


We hosed off the press, put it away and moved to the front porch for an Old-Time music jam with friends from the East Bay, San Francisco and Santa Cruz.


Followed by a potluck supper (always an amazing array of fabulous fresh and local food) including Belma’s perfect chile rellenos, our homemade hard cider and a local turkey served with plum chutney. Then, out back to continue playing music with the ducks and chickens.


Jude and Eric walked downtown to pick up some ice cream and we broke again for dessert! Apple pie and apple cobbler, chocolate zucchini cake and plum ginger sorbet. Then, off to the living room to continue playing and singing into the evening. Thanks to Steve for bringing his amazing song book!

Community Cider Pressing

A few weeks back we hosted a community cider pressing with the family apple press.

The day before, the kids and I combed the neighborhood for unpicked apple trees. When we found a full tree we’d knock on the door of the house and ask the owner if we could pick. We’d fill our wagon, clean up after ourselves and call out “THANK YOU!” as we pulled away. It felt like we were thanking the tree as much as we were thanking the homeowner. Often in the middle of picking I’d find the kids all lined up on the sidewalk happily eating a fresh-picked apple. All smiles. Juice dripping down their chins.

My favorite quote from one of those forays is the guy who said, “Oh yeah, those apple aren’t any good for eating. Take them all. I don’t use them”. The kids and I all agreed that those were definitely the BEST apples we had ever eaten. I still meet people who really feel that store bought anything is better than homegrown and homemade.

In our neighborhood alone we glean apples, persimmons, quince, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, pears, loquats, blackberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. A vast majority of that food goes completely unpicked by the homeowners. Sometimes they seem relieved that we will “haul” it away. They see it as something they have to clean up instead of something wonderful to eat. Then, they drive to the store to buy produce from Mexico and Chile.

I have brought folks persimmon bread (with a recipe attached), apricot jam, quince jam, and freshly pressed apple juice. It helps when someone else sees the value in something we take for granted.

In the summer Petaluma does have a “Produce Swap”. It’s held down at the Fourth and Sea parking lot across from the Post Office. More and more folks are seeing the bounty of the urban food forest.

Fresh and in season. There is nothing like it!