Apples are ripening early this year so the annual homage to the fall fruit is also earlier.
This year, Apple Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at Bayview Farm & Garden.
“I made the decision to move Apple Day up two weeks earlier this year because of the apple season,” said Maureen Murphy, owner of Bayview Farm & Garden, where she’s hosted the event for 18 years.
“Apples are ripening early because of climate change,” she said.
Usually a late October event, it coincided with Mutt Strut, which Murphy also started. However, Apple Day won’t be dogged down this year by a parade of pampered pets because the events have been split over two weekends.
Mutt Strut is scheduled 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct 20 at Bayview Corner.
Organizers decided to separate the events because they both were attracting big crowds — and because the seasonal crop tended to mush by month’s end without cold storage.
“It’s just been a mad house on Apple Day with Mutt Strut,” Murphy said. “I counted 400 parked cars around Bayview one year.”
The nonprofit organization, Goosefoot, now sponsors Mutt Strut.
It features a pooch parade and gives prizes for best costumes and other canine categories.
Apples will also be featured in various ways at Bayview Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday through Oct. 20.
Murphy is traveling around Washington this week collecting many different versions of the state’s official fruit. She wants them to be as fresh as possible for prime tasting and pressing.
“Many of them are heritage fruit,” she said. “We’ll have old varieties and we’ll have new varieties.”
Apple Day is held inside the garden center’s greenhouse where apples will be lined up, labeled and sliced for tasting.
It’s a popular family event, Murphy said, and kids particularly delight in the muck and mess created during the pressing process.
Employees will crank the cider press starting at 10 a.m. until the juice runs out. “We typically press about 2,000 to 2,200 pounds of apples,” Murphy said. “Kids get to take a turn on the cider press, as well, and they love it.”
Murphy no longer lets individuals bring the own apples to juice because that system went rotten with press hoggers. She will, however, help people identify what kinds of apples might be growing on their land if they bring a sample in.
Tasting the heavenly nectar of just-pressed apples is often a new experience for many. “They can’t believe how good is it,” Murphy said.
Cider will be sold by the glass and by the half-gallon to take home. Bayview’s restaurant, Flower House Cafe, will also be serving hot mugs of cider and many apple-themed dishes.
“We just go all apple.”