Take 1,800 pounds of apples, add some food preservation demonstrations and cook some hot dogs and hamburgers, and what do you have?
The third annual Pine River Shares Community Harvest.
Although this year’s apple crop is much smaller than the 2020 harvest, there were still enough apples to press cider and share with residents in downtown Bayfield on Saturday.
During last year’s bumper crop of apples, volunteers gathered 8,000 pounds of fruit.
Pine River Shares works with Bear Smart Durango to connect people who want to pick fruit in Bayfield with those who have fruit that needs harvesting.
“It’s a win-win for people with fruit trees and our residents,” said Pam Wilhoite, director of Pine River Shares. Gleaned apples and fresh cider will be distributed to those who visit the organization’s food pantry.
The pantry has expanded this fall to allow people to come in and choose the items their families need, instead of providing a standard bag of commodities.
Pine River Shares also has seen a large increase in the need for its school backpack program, with up to 400 backpacks of food being provided to students in Bayfield, Ignacio and Arboles to take home for the weekend.
Volunteers at Saturday’s event provided lunch, and children used the organization’s new cider press, as visitors gladly accepted cups of fresh cider.
Local cooks provided recipes and samples of sauerkraut, dehydrated apples and apple cider vinegar.
More information about Pine River Shares and its programs is available at www.pinerivershares.org, or by calling 884-6040.