Crowd funding meeting for a community cider press

ciderWhen we started kicking around ideas for the Low-Hanging Fruit Press project, obtaining a community cider press was one of the most intriguing ideas.  We had a few ideas of how to raise money to cover costs (roughly $900 for the press in the photo… which we’re becoming quite fond of).

We weren’t too excited about trying to recover costs by charging for use.  Crowd funding seemed to offer a better approach.  We’re new to the process though, so we’ll have to figure it out from scratch.  Based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far, it seems like a cider press offers a pretty good chance of success.

We’d still value a few extra heads to help us work out the details.  We’re leaning towards using CommunityFunded.com as a platform based on their process and philosophy.  They leave plenty of room to be creative and use the campaign to build relationships… what we’re all about anyways.

If you’re interested and able, please join us at the Electric Brew this Monday (Sept. 9) at 12pm.  There’s a pretty straightforward path to navigate laid out here.  So even if you can’t join us, check it out and let us know how you might like to help.

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.

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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: www.transitiongoshen.org/apples

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

 

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON THE COMMUNITY CIDER PRESS PROJECT

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 www.transitiongoshen.org/apples or call Greg Imbur at (574) 536-6854. Thank you for being part of this adventure!

pdf_iconCommunity_Cider_Press_Project_of_Goshen.pdf

 

 

Notes from initial meeting on apple abundance

Just a few notes from the initial apple meeting last night (Aug. 27):

  • Folks seemed to be excited about the possibility of access to fruit that may otherwise go to waste in our community.  Many people in the area are unable to use all of their fruit this year because the fruit this year is extraordinarily abundant.
  • Two people mentioned that they have friends with over 20 apple trees on their property who would be happy to see them be picked.
  • A couple people will contact the Seed to Feed program at Church Community Services as well as the Window to see what possibilities may lie there.
  • It was mentioned that fruit farms in Michigan can’t hire enough labor to harvest all of their crops.
  • Apples may be the most abundant in this area, but other fruit trees may be unused by their owners as well.
  • A few people volunteered to be at a table at the Farmer’s Market this coming Saturday (Aug. 31st) to share what has come about so far from this meeting as well as gauge what interest the community has.  There will be a map of Goshen where fruit tree owners can post trees that have abundant fruit that others can harvest from.
  • Crowdfunding a purchase of a cider mill  to be used by anyone in the community was discussed. This could happen this year or next depending on time and resources available.
  • Cider pressing and applesauce making parties were discussed as a way to have fun together.  Can also be a chance to learn how to learn these skills.

Some of these ideas may take off if there is enough community energy and interest.   At this point they are open for anyone to join in or start something on their own.

If you have ideas of where apples (other fruit too) can be used and would like to find others who could help out, feel free to let us know and we’ll try to use the Transition Goshen or other networks to make it happen.  Leave a note here or email apples@transitiongoshen.org.