The Gravenstein apples have arrived, and so has the Sebastopol Community Apple Press, where you can bring your apples and make freshly squeezed juice. Slow Food Russian River lets you use the press, for free, at the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm at 7777 Bodega Highway on most Saturdays and Sundays from now until the end of October. Please register here.
All you need to bring is apples and plastic containers. (No glass please, to avoid breakage.) A Slow Food volunteer familiar with operation of the press will be on site and there will be facilities for you to rinse and cut your apples to prepare them for the press.
If you do a Google search for “community apple press” the first hit will direct you to our web site. And if you look at the other hits Google offers, you will see that the Sebastopol Community Apple Press is the only community apple press in the country! Last year we operated one press, and some days we were unable to satisfy the demand, so this year we will be running two presses simultaneously.
Sonoma County is one of the largest producers of Gravenstein apples in the country, with hundreds and hundreds of acres planted in that variety, and thousands of acres planted in a total of more than 40 different varieties. This season, for the first time, you will be able to enjoy the apple harvest of Sonoma County in a new and exciting way.
If you can resist drinking the delicious juice right away, you may want to freeze it for use later. Why drink a daily glass of orange juice that probably originated in Florida, when you can drink juice from a fruit grown right here? Support your local farmers and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient economy.
Consider an outing to the countryside with the family, perhaps to an apple grower who offers U-pick, then make your own special blend of juice with the varieties of your choice. Contact information on all the apple farmers of Sonoma County can be found here on this web site.
So this year don’t let any apples go to waste from your (or your neighbor’s) backyard trees. Collect and bring them to the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm and make your own juice. And if you don’t have access to backyard apples, visit one of the local apple growers, or buy apples from a farmers market or any of the enlightened grocery stores in the County.
Slow Food has actively supported the apple growers of Sonoma County for over a decade. The volunteers are responsible for a long list of accomplishments, including the following:
• Each year we erect banners visible to northbound and southbound traffic in Sebastopol reading “The Gravensteins are Coming” and “The Gravensteins are Here.”
• For the past two years we have given free Gravensteins to thousands of visitors at the Sonoma County Airport and at the County Board of Supervisors office.
• Each season we press apple juice and promote Gravs at the local farmers markets.
• For the past seven years we have persuaded over 100 restaurants to feature Gravenstein apples on their menus during the season.
• In 2013 we visited three local schools, made a classroom presentation and pressed fresh apple juice for about 300 kids, collaborating with Cittaslow Sebastopol, which we plan to replicate this year using the press at the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm.