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Slow Food Russian River Community Apple Press: 2019 Report

by Paula Shatkin, Paula Downing and Bob Burke

To paraphrase Joe Namath, “We can’t wait for next season, because we get better every year.”

The 2019 apple season at the Community Apple Press has come to a close and what a banner season it was. We manage to improve our systems every year: we revised the web site to make it easier for people to register or to volunteer; we reduced the number of empty slots by carefully reminding folks who registered and by accepting new registrations when someone canceled; we reorganized our coordination with the Historical Society to bring more school kids to the Farm and the press.

The members of the Apple Core provided the essential people power. The Day Leader slots were filled by Carole and Pat Flaherty, Russ Franco, Pam Letourneau,  Rick Mead, Richard Murphy, Paula and David Shatkin and Bob Burke, Max Caruso, Glen Pinnow and Doug Conover filled in some gaps in Day Leader coverage.  Paula Downing brought to the press almost 600 children from 11 grammar schools, with help from many, including Heather Rush and Paco Stanley from the Historical Annual Production ChartSociety. Sue Deevy headed up the crew for the Grav Fair. Jizell, again, ran the volunteer coordination program, supported, again, by Carole. Paula Shatkin and Carole coordinated patron registrations, emails, questions, confusions and special requests.  Paula Downing coordinated collection of the pomace by local ranchers. Dana Glei kept the website up to date. Sharon Bouton single-handedly ran the free apple project at the Airport and the County Offices. Edie Otis and Pam headed up the T-Shirt project. Pam outdid herself by also handling the jug purchases from the Petaluma distributor and labeling all the bins in the shed at the Farm.

Many other members of the Apple Core — too many to list here — spent lots of time working at the press (you know who you are). And many people from outside the Apple Core volunteered at the press, most of them multiple times. We may inadvertently omit some deserving souls from this list, but the following were especially generous with their time: Brad Carn, Timothy Crowley, Leslie Perlman, Bruce Gaynor, C. Moi, Fernando Oliveira, Delora Porter, Denise Pedrovich, Julie Clark, Bob Davis, Mike Weeks, Richard Bland, Cheryl Pike, Pepe Martinez and Isaiah Wisdom.

Many months ago we selected Saturday, November 2, as the final day to operate the press for the season. Little did we know that the valiant teams of Paula and David Shatkin in the AM, and Carole and Pat Flaherty in the PM, would again this year be battling smoky skies that day. The Flahertys closed things down just a couple hours before the mandatory evacuation orders were issued.

We’re still finalizing the numbers, but the amount of apples pressed this season yet again hit a high-water mark of over 54,000 pounds. Amazing, if we may say so. It takes a community to achieve this and the press is a proven community builder. It’s fun to press apples and maybe even more fun to help others press their apples.



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