All posts by Ben Beyeler

A Community Funded cider press


The Low-Hanging Fruit Press crowdfunding campaign to purchase a community cider press  was a success.  28 people pooled their money together in 5 days to fund a cider press.  The press will not be owned by 28 people, or even one person.  The idea is that it is for the whole community to share.  If it appears that there is too much demand for it, it likely means that more cider presses are needed.

The Community Funded crowdfunding platform
In addition to the ability of a crowdfunding campaign creator offering rewards for donations, allows organizations and individuals to offer rewards for donations as well. They call this Mega Community Collaboration (MC²).

In-kind rewards description - Community funded

There were three In-Kind rewards offered to the Low-Hanging Fruit Press campaign in addition to the three offered by Transition Goshen:

Community Funded - project rewards

The campaign went quickly enough that there wasn’t enough time to fix a glitch system that caused the In-Kind rewards to not appear in the campaign until just before the campaign reached its goal.


Opportunity for more helping hands

I got a call from David Shenk at  Elkhart County Community Corrections who suggested that people in the Elkhart County work release program might enjoy helping glean apples.

A few years ago Elkhart County Works Together organized a group of work release folks to help tend community gardens in Goshen and they really enjoyed the opportunity to work outdoors and learn how to garden.

This is a potential opportunity for many extra hands helping pick apples and creating connections.  If this opportunity interests you or have ideas of who to connect this opportunity to, let us know.

Send a note to or call 574-535-9199.


Labor Day of Cider

Labor Day was an excellent day to press apple cider.  Greg Imbur and Amy Thut hosted folks at their place and shared their cider press.  Folks brought apples they found in local parks,  at friends and neighbors’ houses.  It was fun to test each batch of cider from different trees around the community.  The batch with crabapples mixed in was by far the sweetest. 


Apples go in the top, get chewed into pieces and fall into the bucket.

Handcranking the press


The chewed apples get pressed and the juice pours into the bucket. It is that simple.

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Sweet apple cider pours out the bottom.


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Kids loved helping out and learning the skill of cider making.

The conclusion was that everyone had a blast, made new friends and went home with cider.  With soo many apples around the community, many more pressings could happen. Are there enough cider presses in the community to share?  Could many people purchase one together for everyone to share?

Community Cider Press Project of Goshen

Greg Imbur created this document to share with owners of apple trees in Goshen.

Community Cider Press Project of Goshen

Hello! We are reaching out to you because our goal is to use local fruit trees to make cider. By procuring a community press, we hope to create an easier way for people to make cider. Below is an overview of the project…please take a moment to read this, and then join us if you are interested. Happy Harvesting!

Cider Pressing Requirements

The main requirement is a willingness to have fun and build community…beyond that, we hope that the existence of (at least) one community cider press will allow local residents to utilize “low-hanging fruit” close to home. The other main requirements are fruit or trees and people willing to invest a little time and effort. (To respect the rights of property owners, any fruit—or trees from which fruit may be harvested—needs to be first identified and then accessed with permission.)

Cider Pressing Groups

We do not envision a particular way that groups would access fruit or use the cider press, but it is easy to imagine events organized by private or public groups, such as those within schools, churches, neighborhood associations, or by some other common denominator or interest. We’re also making an effort to recruit more folks with interests in advancing this project. We are planning a crowd funding campaign, a cider pressing party (or several!), and meetings to brainstorm other ways to move ahead.

While the vision (and action) of purchasing a cider press is clear enough, we also want to emphasize that this project is meant to create opportunities to gather around and celebrate local food production and community. (For example, whether a group of residents in The Orchard neighborhood are interested in having their own hobby orchardist society, whether the folks at Chandler Elementary School want to press the apples on their tree, or whether a church organization wants to have an annual event using whatever fruit sources it has access to…we’re glad to see any or all of those opportunities materialize!)

Community Cider Press Project Volunteers and Support

In the spirit of this being a community-based project, we really need your support and involvement to help form a cider pressing network. In short, we can use whatever time, interest, and energy you can provide to help get a community cider press into place. To better develop the cider pressing network, we’ve begun a list of individuals, organizations, churches, resources, etc. who may be interested in supporting or collaborating with the project in some way. For more about who we are and how you can get involved, please visit us at:

If you want to speak to someone, feel free to call Greg Imbur at (574) 536-6854



Why Now?
Because of 2012’s drought conditions, most fruit trees are loaded with fruit in 2013…to the point that branches are breaking. For anyone who knows of a tree or plant with fruit, we hope s/he can form a group to harvest and enjoy that abundance. Helping enable a gleaning program is a direct step to reducing food waste, and this is just one way to do so enjoyably.  Being able to set folks up for a day with a press and some basic education could be a catalyst for community gatherings (public or private), building relationships while having a good time.

Expertise and Resources
While we are excited about the possibilities of this project, we’re the first to admit that we’re not authorities on cider pressing.  We have picked some fruit (mostly apples), pressed for cider, but we’re far from experts.  We hope to identify folks who can identify the types of fruit trees in the community, advise on how to care for those fruit trees, or provide any other helpful knowledge and skills.

We want to make it easier for other folks to inform themselves and get involved.
One possible way to do this is to form a more extensive fruit tree map in a readily accessible public resource that folks can go to directly.  We already have the platform to host and organize this and whatever other local information we can gather. Again, please visit or call Greg Imbur at (574) 536-6854. Thank you for being part of this adventure!