Pressing cider for the classroom and the cafeteria


It's been a glorious fall in the Boston area this year -- the air is warm, the trees are colorful, and children at CitySprouts schools have been pressing cider nonstop. Garden coordinator Shay Chess demonstrates how to turn the cider press.

Cider pressing is CitySprouts' great autumn tradition: a fun way to celebrate the harvest and outdoor learning. This year more children have pressed cider with CitySprouts than ever before. By the end of November, well over 200 classes of children at 19 schools in Cambridge and Boston will have pressed over 2,000 pounds of apples into fresh cider.

Cider fresh from the press and ready for school breakfast

Most cider gets happily slurped up as soon as it's made. Kids can't wait to try it once they've seen it drip its way out of the barrel of the press. This year, however, a portion of the cider pressed by children in the school garden made its way to the cafeterias of Fletcher-Maynard, Peabody, and Amigos Schools of Cambridge, where the cider was served to students as an ingredient in a healthy school breakfast. In the words of Mellissa Honeywood, Cambridge Public Schools' Director of Food and Nutrition Services, "CitySprouts is a tremendous partner to Food & Nutrition Services. Having students connect with the origin of their food is such a powerful concept. Once the students see the cider they've helped press in the Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal offered for breakfast they will have experienced a lesson on the Food System that can't be taught in a book."

Cider pressing is more than just a celebration, of course. Whether it's teaching sequencing and graphing?or demonstrating the properties of simple machines, teachers always find ways to support classroom learning with a cider garden excursion.