Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project starts up its mobile juice program in Montezuma Valley with a visit this month by Summit Mobile Juicing, which provides juice processing services in Colorado.
Cider makers will purchase most of the juice, and the rest will go into fresh, pasteurized, juice boxes as a fundraiser for MORP.
To prepare for the juicing, MORP hopes to pick 1,000 bushels over the next several weeks, and is looking for volunteers and apple sellers.
“We estimate from our historic orchard mapping work that a 50,000-bushel capacity mostly hits the ground for deer and livestock to enjoy,” MORP said in a press release. “So our efforts are one small step to return an orchard culture and economy to our region by turning some of this abundance into juice.”
In 2016, MORP produced and sold 2,200 gallons of Montezuma Valley Heritage Blend raw apple juice for use in hard cider in Denver, Boulder and Cortez. MORP used proceeds from the sale to purchase local heirloom apples, invite Montana’s Northwest Mobile Juicing operation, lease cold storage and processing facilities, ship juice and coordinate the project. Funded in part by a USDA local food grant, MORP began the pilot program to evaluate whether mobile juicing would help fruit growers reach markets.
Lang Livestock shipped 10,400 pounds of juice to Denver on an open-air flatbed truck at night to keep it cool.
“With the preponderance of juice apples in our orchards, market opportunity exists not only for hard cider, but for our fresh juice as well,” MORP said on its website.
Orchard Social 2018 and tree saleMORP also plans to host a 2018 Orchard Social, heritage apple tree sale and a homegrown apple show.
The Orchard Social will celebrate Montezuma County’s fruit-growing heritage at Outlier Cellars, 141 S. Main St. in Mancos on Oct. 13 from 2-8 p.m.
Heritage apple trees and Fenceline Cider will be for sale beginning at 2 p.m., and Sweetwater Gypsies will bring its woodfired pizza at 4 p.m. The Great Contention will supply the music from 7-9 p.m.
The apple show will feature categories of “biggest,” most attractive,” most charaqcter,” “ugliest” and “best spitter.” Bring three apples of same variety per category.
Winners in each category will win a MORP T-shirt, and Best of Show will win a heritage apple tree.
For more information contact MORP at 970-565-3099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.