Cider Fest

I’ve been gone too long. I seriously underestimated how hard it would be to have a life outside of graduate school… or, at least, a life online while in graduate school. The plan was to bake baguettes this week, to blog about the upcoming holidays, to do a fix-it-yourself post & brag about the curtains I made to cover our God-awful “storm windows” that hang–via magnets–on the inside of the window.

Instead, I taught myself how to do ANOVAs in statistics. I completely redid my CV to match a serious, public sector job instead of a fun, public relations job. It’s a good move, but I get tired of these boring lines & boring typefaces & boring boring boring-looking documents.

Between assignments, I took myself out to the Bloomington Community Orchard, a place I’ve been dying to visit since I started volunteering for their communications team. They were hosting Cider Fest, a day of face painting, cider making, cider sipping & apple-doughnut binge eating. Heaven.

The orchard, on its second year of life, was filled with fellow SPEA students, families, dogs & folk bands; the sounds of wassailing for a good harvest & apples crushing under the cider press’s weight; and the smell of autumn, which I’d been missing. Decomposing leaves. Wood fire. Hot cider. My scarf, still musty from being packed in a box for over a year.

It was like a family reunion, with a big family that’s incredibly concerned with food security, local agriculture & providing for each other. I can’t wait to see the small orchard mature, bear fruit & show Bloomington a whole new way in which local agriculture just makes sense.

Rather than espousing, once again, the economic & social importance of projects like this as the world works toward gaining another billion people, I will say this instead: Go to your kitchen. Read the labels of your fruit & find the one nearest you. Then, come back to the Internet. Spend a few minutes on Google, finding a place near you that grows something. Anything. Figs. Peaches. Strawberries. Wait for that season, & go pick the fruit. Be a part of what you eat, & tell me the dirt under your nails & the nearness to the vine doesn’t make that berry taste the best you could ever imagine.

I loved watching the kids romp around between the trees, dipping their hands into all kinds of dirty, mysterious places under the hay the orchard has already spread. I love thinking that we’re working backwards, toward a world that understands its food a little better & is working to make more of it, on a smaller scale, for each other. As simple as that.

I love thinking that those kids, still connected by a leash to their parents with apples painted on their cheeks & cider dripping from their mouth, nose & hands, know more already than I do about what an orchard is & what one does in it. How fun.

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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