Wellesley Cider Mill, circa 1939
The harvesting of crops has become a business activity. No longer is there joyousness in gathering the produce. Years ago people had a sense of accomplishment and, possibly, also relief when the harvest was finished. My attempt in this painting is to tell the story of socialization that surrounded a trip to the cider mill where the apple crop was turned into cider. I used photos from the late 1930s supplied to me by Kevin Jantzi of the Wellesley Cider Mill. I saw a letter, years ago, that has stuck with me, written by an Old Order Mennonite woman to her city friend. The harvest is now in the barn and the children are all well. We are so blessed. I hope that this painting tells something of thankfulness and enjoyment. I want to show you part of a letter that I received from Kevin after he saw the painting. You have done a great job of capturing the scene. In my memory it was a very social place with farmers bringing lots of apples to be processed into cider and apple butter. In those days they would start lining up at 5:00 AM and would finish around 6:00 or whenever the last batch was through. We still get some of the next generation stop by to tell us the stories of when their parents or grandparents used to get them out of bed early to help with the harvest of apples and then take them another day to be processed.
18" x 24"