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Apple Cider returns as part of Apple FestivalPosted Monday, October 8, 2012, at 3:52 PM
This year's 43rd Bloomfield Apple Festival is now in the books and there was a welcomed addition to this year's array of vendors.
There was someone actually featuring the festival's namesake -- apples.
Many, like myself, remember the days from yesteryear when the late Willard Tillford had his old apple press set up on the courthouse square -- where the festival formerly operated.
In recent years, finding apple-related products at the festival was a daunting task -- other than the Tri Kappa's Apple Dumplings, which are always delicious.
However, Art and Edith Woodward, of Owensburg, came to the rescue this year with their vendor booth that prominently featured an apple press that produced fresh-squeezed apple cider throughout the two-day festival in the Bloomfield Park.
Art, an admitted novice in the apple business, laughed when it came to identifying whether what he was producing was cider or juice.
For much of the festival he was calling liquid that oozed out of his press apple juice.
However, he was challenged by a local orchard grower that what was being produced was indeed apple cider.
He learned that apple cider refers to the unprocessed liquid that you get from apples. The apples are washed, cut, and ground into mash before being pressed. The resulting cider usually contains apple pulp and is dark, brown, and cloudy.
This beverage is perishable and must be refrigerated. If this liquid is filtered and further processed, the resulting product is apple juice, which has a longer shelf life than cider.
The Woodwards have been offering a variety of fresh produce, baked and canned items at their booth at the Bloomfield Farmer's Market this year.
They heard talk from some individuals who wondered, if it is an Apple Festival, why are there no apples?
That got Woodward to thinking about this past weekend's festival. He started searching and located an apple press online and decided to offer apple cider -- including free samples -- to patrons at this year's festival.
Woodward made the process educational for the visitors -- explaining in detail how his hand-cranked press worked.
One interesting note that Woodward explained is it takes about 150 apples to produce 1 1/2 gallons of cider.
Woodward said the weekend was a good one with more than 80 jars of cider sold in the roughly the one-and-half days the festival was operating.
Each jar was sold with a label that advised the cider to be stored at 41 degree or less to preserve it.
"It was a good weekend financially," Woodward quickly added.
Edith also offered home-baked apple pies, apple dumplings, apple turnovers, apple butter, apple jelly and apple crumb crisp muffins with cream cheese filling.
Woodward, a Baptist minister most of his life who moved to Greene County four years ago from Minnesota, says he lost about four hours of sales on Friday when the rain hit.
But looking back that was probably a blessing because he ran close to running out of apples -- with only about two bushels left -- to squeeze after a very large crowd visited his stand throughout the day and evening on Saturday.
Woodward said he's pleased to have re-introduced fresh-squeezed apple cider to the yearly festival in Bloomfield and he quickly added that they will be back for the 2013 festival.
"We'll be there next year. It was definitely worth it to us," he told me Monday morning.
Woodward is in need of glass jars to have for next year's festival. If you have any to donate contact him at 863-4500.
While we are talking about apples, I had the pleasure of doing the "toughest" job at the Apple Festival this year -- being one of three judges for the yearly Apple Baking Contest.
I know, it's a tough job, but a sweet one and somebody had to do it.
I was actually drafted on Saturday morning during my photo assignment when a planned judge didn't show up.
I joined Bloomfield Junior-Senior High teachers Deb Johnson and Mark Bartlow on the judging panel.
I came away knowing that Greene County is blessed with some very talented bakers and cooks who know how to do something very special to apples.
It was a tough decision in every category, but Brittany Hasler came away as the winner in the Apple Specialty 35 years and under category for the third straight year.
Pam Deckard won the Apple Specialty title in the age 35 and over division.
Jean Ann Sanders had the top Apple Pie, a delicious steaming hot pie that left the judges very impressed and wanting more on a very chilly morning.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nick on Twitter @GCDWSchneider .
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