220928. As our Erasmus Group “Biodiversity meets music” wanted to present the project and their activities to the public at this year’s autumn festival and was looking for a current topic, we quickly selected orchard protection. Within a few days, our plan was ready, and so some Erasmus-AG members, together with the Q2 Biology Basic Course, Anna Simons (Q2) and Dr. O. organised an apple harvest of regional apple varieties at the farm of Anna’s parents at Steinbachshochwald.
A date was quickly found (Tuesday, 20/09/22), we were lucky with the weather, because all the rainy clouds passed by – after the 6th lesson, Anna picked up the harvesters with the tractor and trailer at the Stolberg railway station and took them over to the farm using a bumpy dirt road – Dr. O. following behind in his car.
Behind the stables were several orchards with apple and pear trees, in some parts cows eating with their calves. The pupils armed themselves with ladders, buckets and apple pickers and took possession of the first tree: while some put on the ladders, climbed up and disappeared into the tree, others tried to catch the apples with the apple picker on the outer, but very flexible branches, which was not so easy. The buckets quickly filled up, and so again others, together with Dr. O., carried the filled buckets to the car and emptied them into boxes for food.
Of course, one or two apples were eaten in between. As the cows like to stand under the trees when it rains, the area was quite muddy, so we had to be careful not to drop apples if possible and not to slip. Good for those who had changed their sneakers for rubber boots!
Time flew by and after harvesting this first tree, most of the students said goodbye, while Anna, Frieda, Zoë, Marcel and Dr. O. moved on to the second orchard to harvest two more, but younger apple trees and a pear tree. In addition, the cows also changed pastures, rushed directly under the harvested apple tree and were happy to eat a few fallen apples. The members of the Biology Course enjoyed an afternoon in nature instead of a lesson in the classroom.
Finally, we moved to another pear tree, but the pears were barely reachable. Thus, we took the remaining buckets to the car. That afternoon we could inspect the harvest of about 250 – 300 kg of apples and pears. Many thanks to Anna and the Simons family who had made this harvest possible for us.
Two days later, Dr. O. took the entire harvest to Kreuzau (Eifel) to a mobile juice press (link), had juice made from the apples and pears and bottled in 5 L bags, which in turn were to be sold one day later at the autumn festival at our Erasmus stand. Thus, from the harvest at a local farm and the regional processing to the juice sale, just three days passed.
Our stand at the Autumn Festival was well attended – we had teamed up with the students from the beekeeping group, who also reported on their activities at our stand. Besides our apple and pear juice, visitors were able to taste this year’s delicious honey.
Photos: Dr. O., D. Fischer, M. Leuchter