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16 October 2009

Friday island photos: the cider festival

apple tasting at the cider festival

Last weekend, on the island, there was an apple cider festival.

Of course, there was cider, pressed from island apples by island folks, by the glass, the jug, and the barrel. Sweet and mellow, with just a hint of tartness — the cider spoke of autumn.

But the main event, in tents off the Saturday farmers' market, was the apple demonstration.

70 different kinds of apples. 70! Heirlooms, common varieties, and even apples so new they didn't have names yet.

We were a bit daunted. How would we taste them all?

Pristine apple

Each apple had a name, a type, and a sharp knife by it, in case you wanted to taste it.

I love that they carved the name of this one into the apple.

This Pristine apple appears in early August, far before most other apples.

fruit club volunteer

All the apples were sliced and offered by members of the island's fruit club. A fruit club! They gather together to discuss pruning and grafting, and then have potlucks afterwards.

We're going to join soon.

Holstein apple

This was one of my favorites.

I had never seen a Holstein in a market before. It's grown through grafting, apparently. But it's wonderful. It tastes like finished cider, instead of the raw fruit.

sometimes the best apples have worm holes

I love that sometimes the best apples have worm holes in them. These probably wouldn't sell in the grocery store.

 the apple without a name

And this apple, wonderful for dessert on its own, is so new that it doesn't have a name yet. Dr. Bob Norton, who runs the island fruit club, created them his orchards.

I wish we could have stayed for hours and sampled another 20 kinds of apples.

the band that played that day

Just off the apple tents was a space for the toddlers. And this band.

This is such an island band.

man riding a chicken

And parading through it all, a man and his chicken.

What, you've never seen a man riding a giant chicken?

(Actually, this is one of the performers in UMO, this wacko incredibly talented performance art group that has been on the island for years. Stefan built this chicken costume himself.)

This is where we live.


At 8:49 PM, Blogger Tracy Chastain said...

SWEET! Eccentric, lively, lovely, home.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Those "worm holes" are spots on the fruit from moisture. The plant has to deal with "extra" rain somehow. Cherries & tomatoes split apart, apples get spotty little holes in them. Now you know. I love giant chickens, too. I hope you enjoy yr weekend!

At 6:08 AM, Blogger Green Acres in the City said...

Oh how I miss that area. What a wonderful weekend. Thank you for taking me down memory lane!

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Cathi said...

What a wonderful place to live and raise your daughter....!! I never knew so many types of apples existed...would love to try them all myself. I am truly enjoying your frequent posting of late...I love to read your words! Have a beautiful weekend!

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Sho said...


Thank goodness for Johnny Appleseed and all the apple seeds he planted all over our country. Wait, was that a myth or true?

It is time for me to go apple picking with the kids and make a good apple cake with them. Or is it too late, and I have to go pumpkin picking instead?

I LIKE that islant you live on. I love reading about it. I remember once you talked about the community cookbooks being a treasure trove of recipes. If there is one for Vashon, I will order it.

Happy Saturday to you and yours.

Take care,


At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apples, the perfect fruit. Love how many varieties there are, the array of flavors is so broad.
Have you ever seen a pink pearl? They are smallish with a green blush but when you cut into them, the flesh is pink!
Make the most amazing applesauce.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger CALAMITY JANE said...

ok, i definitely need to move to your island! love the apples carved by hand and the rolled pant legs of the band boys :)
i am such a huge apple lover, and my husband is pretty much addicted to apple cider, so we would be all over this festival! my husband actually just left this morning to take our 2 boys on their annual october cider mill trek! (even though here in socal, the closest one is about 1 1/2 hours away!)

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

We are up to our eyeballs in our island apples! We are going to juice the last of the Gravensteins today, and we just started picking the Spartans- which, IMHO is the best eating apple I've ever had. (it's a cross between a Macintosh and a Newton Pippin.)

I beg to differ about the "worm holes." I've personally witnessed Flickers and Pileated Woodpeckers pecking away at our apples. They love them as much as we do. Our apples don't have any worms, but occasionally a family of earwigs (lovely) will move into the little "cave" on the blossom end. We just rub the apple on the grass and the earwigs move out.

Apples are heavenly to eat. Just had some with sharp cheddar...

Thanks for the visit to your island!

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

PS- Shoshannah-
I grew up in Johnny Appleseed country in New York. (about 30 miles north of New York City, west of the Hudson River) and his orchards are still there in part. (at least they were when I lived there in the 70's.)

We used to go to Conklin Orchards and get cider fresh pressed all through the fall- it was free- all you could drink- while you were shopping for apples and pies, etc.

They taught us about Johnny Appleseed in school, and he was definitely a real person, though I can't remember if we learned his real last name.

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous MollyCookie said...

As I read and looked at your pictures I could almost smell the apples. That must have been so fun to attend and try so many different varieties. Great post!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Just a quick apple growing note, apples do NOT sprout true from seed. Virtually all apples commercially available, from growers large and small, are grown from grafts. Apple trees grown from seed rarely produce something worth eating. Apples were grown way back when not to eat, but to make cider out of.
Michael Pollan's "The Botany of Desire" covers the apple, as well as the legend and legacy of Johnny Appleseed. Great stuff! And if you can get PBS, there is a 2 hour documentary in production, based on the book. Supposed to air the end of October.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Ali Segersten said...

Wow, Island living sounds fun! I like the fruit club. I am sure Tom would join if we lived there. He is really into our fruit trees! :)

Nice photos! -Ali :)

At 5:37 AM, Anonymous the Diary of an Epic Failure said...

This festival would be like a trip to heaven for me. I am totally obsessed with apples! We got so much rain in the northeast in June, so some varieties have brown spots due to a calcium deficiency. No bother! I just roast them or bake them! DELICIOUS.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger The Leithead Family said...

Was this on Vashon? When and where? I was there for a Girls' Weekend and we even went to the Farmers Market yesterday but saw none of this. :(

BTW, we ALSO went to La Boucherie Friday night and it was fanTAStic. I told the guy (Matt?) that we came because I read your blog and your husband guest-chefed. He said, "Oh, Dan! I love it when that happens!"

The food was lovely, lovely, wonderful, lovely and THEN he put together a breakfast bag for us for our stay.

Thank you for the referral! It was the highlight of our trip.

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous S. said...

It looks like you had the perfect weekend! I love apples and that warm feeling you get when you're inside with a warm cup of cider and a good book :)
lovely photos!
Oh, and a fruit club? How wonderful!

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos of colorful fall apples. I'm about to eat one right now.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous faro said...

apple festival are great! such fall fun! here's another apple festival on an island close by - saltspring island...with 300 varieties of apples & some real apple nuts!

At 10:00 AM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I can tell you how to make apple cider vinegar in three words: Loosen the lid.
That's all. Then just wait (weeks) until it's complex and aromatic and lovely, a little trip through the cheesecloth and into a CLEAN bottle.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Dee said...

your photos are SO LOVELY. i especially love your chicken banner. Really very gorgeous!

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Linda said...

I've been very focused on pumpkins lately, but apples are a great fall food too. I love the picture will all the apples on the table.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Bria said...

I didn't realize you were on Vashon - what a small world! My stepbrother and sister-in-law live on Hogsback Farm. We visited last year for their wedding - truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And the farmers' market is so, so lovely.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger tom | tall clover farm said...

The cider fest was a hoot and the variety of apples was surprising. One that was apparently 'created' on Vashon that knocked my socks off (and hopefully I remembered correctly) was "glowing embers."

As far as worm holes go, you have a couple culprits: coddling moth, goes up through the bottom blossom and eats the seeds (not so bad; it's the apple maggot that does the real damage and plunges right through the meat of the apple and riddles it bitter and useless. Correction, makes it a delectable treat for your chickens or in my case, English Bulldogs. Nice post -- thanks!

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous JennC said...

what an enchanted place to call home

At 1:01 PM, Blogger One Love Photo said...

Hi, I love the photos! Oh my I am so in Apple mode right now. Yum!

At 6:41 AM, Blogger kirsten said...

Beautiful redesign. I love!!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I planted a Holstein Apple tree last spring, I hope I get to taste at least one this year!


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