It finally feels like winter. That calls for a party! Terhune Orchards will host its annual Wassailing Party on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016 from 1-4 p.m. Whether in sun or snow, apple trees need to be wassailed every year.
Participants will gather among the 100 year-old trees In Terhune’s orchard to sing, chant, and make lots of noise under the bare tree branches to frighten away winter’s evil spirits so the apple trees will flourish in the spring. This practice follows a very long tradition from England in which many villages relied on the apple harvest. Knowing that the spring buds are on the trees in the winter, it was thought that creating a racket in winter would scare away bad spirits and ensure an excellent harvest in autumn. These villagers also thought they were scaring away harmful bugs that can injure the trees. With this winter’s weather being so unsettled, the Mounty family is counting on the ancient tradition of wassailing to scare any lingering bugs in the orchard that usually get killed off in the cold.
Molly dancers dressed in traditional garb of black costumes play an important role in the wassailing festivities each year. A caller chants and calls out dance steps much like square dancing. The dancers jump and dance to flute music. The crowd is led in the reading of a chant and encouraged to join the Molly dancers in the fun. Pieces of bread are dipped in cider and hung from the tree limbs to give the benevolent spirits something to eat.
Wassailing partygoers are invites to help themselves to a cup of free hot apple cider and donuts or roast marshmallows over a campfire. During the winter, a big part of the work on the farm is pruning all the apple trees. The apple suckers, which are branches that shoot straight up from the trees branches, are removed during pruning. Those suckers become the sticks used for roasting marshmallows.
In the farm store, the group Spiced Punch will perform old traditional songs and ballads. The costumed quartet presents some of the finest interpretations of historic mirth you’ll ever encounter. Accompanied by strings, recorders, tin whistle and concertina, Spiced Punch brings history alive with their musical interpretations.
For those who work up an appetite while creating the racket, the store will have lots of varieties of apples to try and bakery treats and cider made from our apples. Warm up with a cup of hot soup or chili. That will certainly put visitors in good spirits after chasing the bad ones out of the orchard.
The winery tasting room will be open for wine tastings and cups of hot, spiced wine. Visitors can also view the progress of the new wine barn that is being built next to the wine tasting room. Gary and Pam Mount will be available to talk about the plans for the new barn when construction is finished later in the year.
Terhune Orchards is located at 330 Cold Soil Rd. The farm store is open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The winery is open Friday- Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Find Terhune Orchards online at terhuneorchards.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.