Written by Panorama resident, Charlie Keck. October 2016
Currier and Ives would have loved to paint this annual Panorama event. The scene: a soft maritime light and mist enhancing the still beautiful colors of fading dahlias, marigolds and asters surrounding the Garden House. Sitting by long tables in the house, thirty-one happy villagers were working hard to prepare six hundred pounds of apples for pressing.
The apples were washed in bleach water and then freed of rotten spots and obvious worms. Jim Crabtree and Bob Markey had used a drive-by gleaning technique to pick needed apples from neighbors’ trees. We got lots of apples and the owners were relieved of the guilt of wasting food.
Most people wanting a cider press would visit a garden store. Jim Crabtree, the circus-master of the event, had built his press starting with wood he milled in 2008 from a downed fir tree. He adapted a British design to build his apple grinder utilizing a mounted kitchen garbage disposal unit.
In the mashing annex, the all-star Jim trio, plus Fred, Bob and Jerry toiled to push the apples through the grinder and then the apple press. Spent mash was distributed to gardeners for compost who hauled it away in wheelbarrows.
Each worker took home a jug of cider with an attractive clarity and bouquet. My childhood memories of the cider we made on the farm from unwashed, unsorted apples from trees in the cow pasture may have had a bit more thigh.