Participants wash apples for cider pressing at the Grendel Group’s fourth annual Apple Gladness event in Smithers on Sept. 6. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Grendel Group holds annual apple-pressing event

Apple Gladness started in 2015 as a way to find a use for extra apples in the community

With a young bear potentially living in town, what’s a Smithereen to do with all their spare apples?

Press them, of course.

The Grendel Group held its fourth annual Apple Gladness last Friday.

The cider-pressing event began in 2015 as a result of the non-profit’s garden manager Dmitri Cody thinking of ways to make use of all the apples in the community.

At that point, the group got a grant from the Kassandra Trust and have done annual (or bi-annual, depending on the summers) cider pressings.

While the event does generate a small amount of revenue (entry is by donation), Grendel Group executive director Brie McAloney said the real reason they hold the event is to engage with the community and give people something they can do with spare apples they have on their property.

She also pointed out another added benefit.

“Apples are a really abundant resource, [but also] a bear attractant,” she said.

For the days and weeks prior to the event, participants went knocking on doors around town and picking apples.

But the organization also put a call out to the Bulkley Valley for anyone with spare apples they wanted turned into cider to drop them off at the Second Avenue non-profit.

It’s a call that McAloney said was overwhelmingly answered, with many people bringing spare apples by solely to donate for the event.

“I was just surprised to find out somebody brought a whole bunch of apples and I was, like, ‘oh, you’re going to take cider home’ and they were, like, ‘no, it’s for you’.”

McAloney said the community response to the event over the past four years has been great, adding they had people calling them this year to ask if they would be picking their apples again.

They’ll even press crabapples (although McAloney says they’re a tad sour).

The Grendel Group is a registered charity established in 2000 that provides “programs and support for educational and ongoing meaningful work experience for people with cognitive and physical disabilities.”

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Washed apples soaking in water. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

A trickle of cider comes out of the press used at the Grendel Group’s Apple Gladness event held in Smithers on Sept. 6. (Trevor Hewitt)

Pre-ground and mushed up apple sits in buckets waiting to be pressed into cider. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The cider press used to make cider at the Grendel Group’s fourth annual Apple Gladness event, held in Smithers on Sept. 6. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

A bin of apples. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

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