Pam Abrahams has worked with the Goessel Elementary gardening project for seven years. For many of those years, she has looked at an orchard of apple trees on the school grounds and thought about what to do with them.
The day for a special project — and a special treat as a result — came Thursday.
"Our school gardener and teacher demonstrated cider making to all of our students pre-K through fifth grade," said John Fast, elementary school principal and superintendent of Goessel schools. "The apples were harvested from our school orchard, which is located adjacent to our school garden. She was assisted by her extended family."
Members of Abrahams' family provided not only the idea but much of the equipment needed to make fresh apple cider.
"I wanted to do something with the apples that all of the students could participate in," Abrahams said. "My sister-in-law kept bringing up cider-making, so I talked my father-in-law into pulling out his cider press and bringing it to school. Since he has five grandchildren in the elementary school, it wasn't too hard to convince him."
This was the first time a cider press has been used at the school to make that special fall treat.
And for many students, this was the first time they saw such a contraption in action. An apple cider press is a machine that essentially grinds up the apples into a pulp and then presses the juices out.
"I like to come up with new experiences for the students," Abrahams said. "For me, the cider-making is about children learning where their food comes from. Students only see the perfect apples at the grocery store and this is a chance for them to see that you can take less-than-perfect apples, grown without using any chemicals, and still make something really delicious. It was a new experience for nearly all the students."