MISSOULA — Western Cider is holding their annual Apple Drive to turn your apples to their community hard cider.

Michael Billingsley is the Orchardist and co-owner of Western Cider and says that this event is great for people with a lot of leftover apples.

“Essentially we’re taking donations of apples from all around town that you know for the most part don’t get used because of worms and other things that you know it’s hard to have a good quality eating Apple but for cider there’s a lot more flexibility it just matters internal makeup of the apple is all that really matters,” said Billingsley.

Billingsley says that this event gives 10-percent of sales back to the Great Bear Foundation.

“The foundation works to pick all the apples, primarily apples, but other fruits as well to remove them from neighborhoods so the bears aren’t frequently the neighborhoods quite as much,” said Billingsley.

The foundation works to remove the conflict between bears and humans to create a safe environment for all, and this isn’t the first time that Billingsley has worked with Great Bear Foundation.

“The first cider I made was with Great Bear Apples, I volunteered and picked apples for the Great Bear Foundation and made my first cider many many years ago, before I knew what I was doing and it didn’t turn out well,” said Billingsley.

Since then Billingsley and all the other workers of Western cider have perfected the formula and will begin pressing the community apples in October.

“We will juice all those apples and then we make a cider and last year was our 1st year to bottle it. We will be bottling it again this year and distributing them throughout the state,” said Billingsley.

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Billingsley recommends bringing apples that are not rotten open flushed or bruised but worms are just OK.

For every 40 pounds of apples donated you will receive a five dollar gift certificate.





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