The Coombs Farmers’ Institute (CFI) will host their fourth annual apple-pressing event this year, but unlike last year, will not host extra activites for customers while they wait.
The event, which will be held at the Coombs Fairgrounds on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., will only have the mobile press provided by Pressing Matter, in order to comply with COVID-19 social distancing regulations.
“We were really looking forward to what this year might bring, and then had to make the hard decision. Although we will be able to run just like we did the first year, a barebones press,” said Janet Thony, president of CFI.
Last year’s pressing event incuded multiple vendors, live music, Tiger Lily Farms mobile petting zoo and more. And although there will be extra staff to help this year, Thony does not believe it will be enough to effectively manage crowds attracted by the extra activities.
“We draw people from Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan, Port Alberni and Courtenay-Comox,’ she said, “But for people who live at a distance, we’re not sure whether they will attend the event now or not. Or if they’ll come anyways and just find something to do in the region.”
Customers will drop off their batches then return once notified their batch is done. The wait on return will depend on how large their own order is, what time it was dropped off and the size of the order ahead of them. Those with large orders, more than 800 pounds, are encouraged to contact CFI to pre-arrange a time. The minimum order requirement per person has been raised from 100 pounds to 200 pounds as well, to help speed up the process. Orders cannot be held overnight and picked up the next day either, as they’ve allowed in the past, as there won’t be a caretaker on site this year.
During their first year, CFI pressed 8,000 pounds of apples. For the second year, with Denman Island Heritage Apples providing education on heritage apples, they pressed approximately 15,000 pounds. Last year was the first year they operated as a two day event, and with extra vendors and activities to keep people occupied, pressed approximately 20,000 pounds.