Here at Red Oak Recovery we are blessed with the presence of eight apple trees, all heirloom varieties that were planted approximately 20-25 years ago. The varieties, known as antique or heirloom apples, carry poetic names such as Sheepnose, American Mother, Lady Sweet and Nickajack.
Apples have long been a staple in Western North Carolina, and as the leaves are changing, the apples are ripe. We have incorporated apple recipes into our mealtimes, and Executive Chef Sharon has taught clients how to use an apple-press to make cider. Known on campus as “the apple cider experience,” the process can be tedious, but takes on a much deeper meaning in action. This project is infused with gratitude from start to finish. As we harvest the apples, we feel gratitude toward the people who came before us who had the foresight to plant these trees. As we enjoy the cider, we feel gratitude for the team that put in the hard work to make it.
Making the apple cider has many steps; harvesting, washing, crushing, pressing, straining and pasteurizing. Even though this might seem to be a daunting process, everyone chips in and it is quickly proven true, “that many hands make light work.” Clients must work together for a successful outcome and tasty cider requires collaborative focus. We don’t have to twist anyone’s arm to show up for cooking class when the apple-press is involved, as there is a sweet and delicious reward at the end!