Apple aficionados came out by the bushel-load to last week’s Old Apple Tree Festival and Cascadia Food and Cider Festival, where apples could be found in hand pies, as fresh-pressed cider and hard cider. If you missed it, not to worry. Plenty more apples are available before the season’s over.
On Sunday, apple lovers can head to the 29th annual Apple Festival at Riverside Christian School in Washougal. The festival is known for homemade apple pies and apple dumplings, as well as discounted prices on apples by the pound. (Bring your own bags, if you can.) Camas Produce will be supplying several as-yet-to-be-determined varieties; last year’s picks included Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Golden and Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala.
Ready-to-eat warm apple dumplings can be purchased for $8, either plain or with ice cream. You can also order whole apple pies ($12) and dumplings (two for $8 with caramel sauce) in advance by calling 360-835-5600. The flash-frozen pies and dumplings can be picked up from the festival with instructions on how to bake them at home.
If you’d prefer to eat lunch before dessert, hot food options include nachos, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, roasted corn and grilled cheese sandwiches with chips or potato salad. (The festival has been vegetarian for all of its 29 years, although some vendors have sold products containing meat.)
Kids will enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a bouncy house, face painting and balloons, and inflatable ax-throwing. They can also explore a Camas-Washougal fire truck and try their skill at knocking down cones with a firehose. There will be cake walks throughout the day as well as apple pie-eating contests for kids and adults.
The on-site vendor market features products ranging from local raw honey and salsas to carved wooden ornaments, floral fashion accessories, herbal skin care and roasted nuts, plus branded products like Scentsy and Pampered Chef.
Parking is available on the school grounds for those with limited mobility, and there will be free shuttle service from the parking lot at the corner of North Shepherd Road and Third Avenue.
The festival’s proceeds go directly to the school for enrichment opportunities, student aid, and campus and classroom improvements. The money doesn’t just support students at the school — it also benefits local causes.
“Part of the money goes to community projects,” said Lindsey Coyle, connections coordinator at Riverside Christian School. “Last year, we partnered with Council for the Homeless. We’ve gone to local retirement centers to do activities with the residents. It’s great that money coming in from the community goes back out to the community as well.”
There are more apple-based wonders in Woodland at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill’s Apple Cider Pressing Oct. 26, when about 10,000 pounds of apples will be hand-cranked into that delicious ambrosia known as apple cider. The pressing starts early, at about 9 a.m., and goes through the day until apples run out, any time from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Parking can be problematic, since the mill — one of the nation’s only remaining water-powered grist mills — is located deep in the woods on a scenic byway. Be prepared to walk a bit and wait your turn to enter the historic mill, which is a working museum run by volunteers.
Standing in line, however, will be no chore. It’s thrilling to wait on the covered bridge that spans the creek, where you can enjoy the fall foliage and the sound of running water.
Inside, kids can take turns cranking the cider presses, assisted by volunteers. Bakers can take home free small bags of whole wheat bread flour, pastry flour or cornmeal, still warm from the grinding, along with recipes for baked goods.
Guests will want to linger a while on the back porch, enjoying the view and listening to live bluegrass; bring your own instrument and join the jam. Best of all, you can take home jugs of fresh-pressed cider for a suggested donation of $4 per half gallon, with a limit of two per adult.
If festivals aren’t your thing and you just want the apples, try Joe’s Place Farms. This year, the farm store offers a staggering variety: Akane, Honeycrisp, Crabapples, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gala, Idared, Jonagold, Wolf River, Lodi, Gravenstein, September Wonder, Hudson Golden Russet, Burgundy, Flame, Criterion, Granny Smith and Newtown Pippin. Try a cobbler — apple, apple cinnamon, apple cranberry and apple raspberry — or pick up one of eight varieties of applesauce. Top your toast with Mrs. Joe’s apple pie jam, apple butter, apple jelly or apple cider jelly. Joe’s Place Farms also presses its own apple cider, available by the gallon ($9.99), half-gallon ($5.99) and pint ($2.99).
If Brush Prairie is more convenient, Bi-Zi Farms offers Golden and Red Delicious apples, as well as Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Ginger Gold and the bright yellow-pink Winter Banana. Each type is available according to its growing season; call the store to check availability.
The farm store also sells Ryan’s apple cider from Hood River and whole apple pies by Willamette Valley Pie Company. Last but not least, you can snag a jar of Bi-Zi Farms’ own smooth, subtly spicy apple butter.