Apple cider sparkled in deep chestnut, foaming streams into gallon jugs held by eager customers at the 2013 Apple Fest at the Sekiu Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 12.
The annual event, presented by the West End Youth and Community Club, was held on a clear autumn day. John and Karolyn Burdick set up the apple press, a 20-year-old electric number donated by Herb Balch.
They were soon joined by other club members, including Carol Schultz and Don Finley, washing apples in a first diluted bleach solution, then a clear second rinse, before cleaning out rotten spots and discarding bad apples.
The prepared fruit was poured into the press and quickly chewed to a mash, yielding a steady output of juice.
Nothing goes to waste; the leftover apple pomace would be picked up by Joe Gregory, a local farmer who recycles community leftovers as food for his animals, including goats, cows, chickens and the occasional horse or donkey.
Everybody likes apples.
Red, green and yellow apples had flowed in from around Clallam County, building a line of bags and buckets that filled the long wall of the Community Center maintenance closet.
A farmer in Sequim donated 50 gallons from a few big trees, all loaded with fruit. Another 20 gallons arrived from Port Angeles. Emil Person donated 30 gallons from a tree on his Hoko River Valley farm; the tree is said to be 114 years old and still bearing.
The apples were a mix of Jonagolds, Yellow Delicious and several unknowns. Some were tart, some were sweet, some simply added liquid volume, but when poured together they made a luscious cloudy juice that tasted like a sunny orchard.
“It’s best to mix ‘em,” said Burdick.
Loretta Block put out a tasty spread that started with lavishly-garnished taco soup, and included home-baked pies. Block made blueberry/blackberry; Karolyn Burdick and June Bowlby made apple. Karin Ashton offered a gluten-free apple pie for the auction, that included many donated items from community members and businesses. Maureen Winn donated a particularly attractive arrangement based on a giant artificial pumpkin and autumn foliage.
The funds from the sale will be used to help offset the grading and re-graveling of the Community Center driveway and parking area.
Heavy rains had cut small ravines in the open ground, necessitating quick action by Floyd McCoy and his “Kubota.”