Celebrating The Apple
A sure sign of fall in Middleville is the sweet smell of apple cider freshly pressed in the Museum’s apple press. Families carrying baskets and bushels of apples take their turn to drop their apples in the large wooden vessel at the top of the old press. The handles on either sides turn around and around to move the cogs that grind and crush the apples before they drop into a wooden barrel below. An iron wheel is turned on a spiral pole lowering a wooden disc to press down on the pulp and squeeze the juice into the flat channel that empties into a container at the bottom. Nothing beats the taste of the freshly pressed juice and the fun of using the old ‘machine’ with manual labour as our ancestors would have done as part of their daily life.
Old time apple varieties are hard to find these days, but a few will recall the traditional MacIntosh, Wealthy, Snow, St. Laurence, Wolfe River and Transparent varieties that grew on the old homesteads in Lanark County. One local variety, the ‘Lanark Greening’, was grown by Robert Anderson who came to Canada as a young boy in the early 1800s. A life long passion for growing fruit trees led to his development of this variety of apple right here in Lanark County. He established an orchard in Fallbrook. Ontario where he grew fruit trees and he sold the Lanark Greening all around the area for decades.
Compiled with information from C. Smith’s article, ‘The Story of the Lanark Greening Apple’
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.