Every year, after the commercial pickers have gone through my mom’s orchard, the ground under the trees is littered with all the pears the pickers couldn’t catch in time. They pick pears while they’re still quite firm, so most of the grounded pears are still perfect. Food safety says that once a pear touches the ground it can’t go to market, so some years back we decided to gather our friends for a day of gleaning and pressing. It was so much fun, we’ve done it every year since, rain or shine.
This year we had a beautiful day. The orchard is located near White Salmon, Washington up on a bluff above the Columbia River. Mt Hood was out in all its glory, and everyone got busy.
While most of what we glean comes off the ground, there are still some pears left in the trees, many of them high up.
It may look like child labor because it is! (all voluntary, of course)
This is a bin of Anjou pears. They make the best juicing because of their crispness. The Red Bartletts are picked in early September, and the Boscs were in a different bin.
These guys were an amazing press team. Here they are sliding over the container with the recently ground up pears so it can be pressed into juice.
You can see the grinder at the far right and more teen muscle at the press.
When the cider first pours off the press it is a beautiful light/white color before oxidation sets in.
This is the mash after the pressing.
I think this year we pressed 85 gallons of cider.
I believe this is a pre-adulterated glass of cider from the press. Not long after, someone added a little vodka and ginger liqueur to it. Not long after that, production slowed way down, but nobody cared. All in a good day’s work.