Pleasley Community Orchard held its first Apple Day celebration on 21st October, which is National Apple Day. The celebrations were to be held in the orchard, with a apple pressing, a BBQ, garden games and cider from local producers.

However, on the morning of the event, we assessed the weather and with the high winds (up to 50mph) forecast during the event, we had to change the venue to St Barnabas’ Church, just around the corner. Many thanks to the church for letting us use their church facilities at such short notice!

The church was set up with an apple cutting / mashing and pressing station which proved very popular with all ages, with people bringing their own apples to add to the mix. Adults got busy cutting and pressing whilst the children enjoying cranking the handle on the masher. We pressed in excess of 30 litres of juice during the event! Everyone managed to have free glasses of the juice straight from the press into their glass, and commented that it tasted so much better than the “fresh” juice from the supermarket. Thanks to St Edmund’s Church in Mansfield Woodhouse for lending us their 12 litre apple press and mashing equipment.

Children and adults also enjoyed the variety of garden games which were on offer – chess, draughts, dominoes, Jenga, quoits, and 9 pin skittles. Thanks again to St Edmund’s loaning us these games – they really added to the fun of the event.

We had a selection of four local ciders (sweet, through medium, to dry) for people to purchase. These were sourced for us by local cider enthusiast Mick, who did a sterling job in getting them from Sisson & Smith and the Blue Barrel Cider Company.

Also available was a BBQ with the usual refreshments, which were heartily enjoyed by the community. We are very grateful to our local councillor Diana Meale for sponsoring the food, and to Vegware who graciously gave us the cups, glasses and plates – all of which are completely compostable and were mixed with our pressed apple “cake” to our compost bins at the end of the day.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this whole event a huge success, whether on the delivery team, the St John’s Ambulance team, or joining in with the community spirit by coming along and having fun.

What happened to the remaining apple juice? Well, there’s 25 litres brewing away in the vicarage airing cupboard to be used at our upcoming Wassailing celebration on 21st January 2018! Pleasley Community Orchard Cider in the making.

This blog originally appeared on Pleasley Community Orchard’s blog.