Recycled items pressed into service

The apple press made from recycled objects by Robbie Lawton, pictured with Christine Rozon (both...
The apple press made from recycled objects by Robbie Lawton, pictured with Christine Rozon (both of Wanaka), which was used to make dozens of litres of juice at Saturday's Great Autumn Apple Drive in Wanaka. Inset: Petrina Duncan. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
An apple press made from a washing machine tub, car jack and metal shower tray played a starring role in Saturday's Great Autumn Apple Drive, at Rippon Hall, in Wanaka.

The recycled parts of the press were salvaged from Wanaka Wastebusters and cleverly crafted into a juice-producer by engineer Robbie Lawton, who proudly demonstrated the machine's capabilities at the weekend.

Mr Lawton is a member of Local Food Wanaka, the group behind the town's annual apple drive which, at its inaugural event last autumn, attracted more than 100 people who diced, stewed, pulped and pressed an estimated 1.2 tonnes of apples.

Volunteers numbered around 50 at Saturday's event and half a tonne of fruit was processed into chutneys, sauces and juice.

''It's much quieter this year,'' group secretary Petrina Duncan said.

However, that made the day ''much more manageable'' as those who were still learning about food preserving could be more hands-on.

People from throughout Central Otago and the Upper Clutha brought their own jars, bottles and apples - plus some pears - which were gathered from trees on the roadside or their own backyards and orchards, Ms Duncan said.

Local Food Wanaka organised the equipment and other ingredients, Rippon Vineyard provided the commercial kitchen and chef Jacques Scott, of Wanaka's White House restaurant, brought the recipes and expertise to oversee the whole operation.

At the end of the day, participants divided up the fruits of their labour.

The core purpose of the apple drive was bringing the community together to share food knowledge and preserve the local abundance of fruit.

''There's this huge excess of apples every autumn ... so last year we came up with the idea of doing a preserving event like this.''

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