This year Columbus Day fell on a glorious autumnal Monday here — the kind where the air feels as crisp and sweet as a fresh Braeburn apple. A few students took advantage of their time off from classes to go apple picking at Orchard Hill Farm in Cumberland.
Seven members of the student groups Bowdoin Food Co-op and the Green Bowdoin Alliance ended up picking seven bushels of apples. After returning to campus, three students spent the afternoon baking the green apples into pies.
At 5 p.m., the students dropped off 11 pies at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, which runs a soup kitchen and food pantry in Brunswick. MCHPP Director Karen Parker said she had never received a gift of so many fresh apple pies. “In the three years I’ve been here, it’s a first,” she noted. The pies were served at lunch the following day.
Ian Kline ’15, who helps run the Food Co-op on campus and organized the event, said he had been dreaming of making apple pies over fall break. His reveries, though, were complicated by his sympathy. “I was thinking of the people who couldn’t get apple pie,” he said.
Kline, Shannon Grimes ’14 and Emily Lowell ’15 took on the task of making the pies, following Grimes’ family recipe. Grimes said the recipe, which she knew by heart, was one she and her mother had devised after much experimenting. It requires a little bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves, and lots of sugar and butter. With money Bowdoin provided, the student purchased seven pounds of butter, 10 pounds of flour, a bag of brown sugar (they already had some) and spices.
Kline said he’d like to make the apple-service day an annual tradition at Bowdoin. As co-leader of the Food Co-op with Anna Hall ’15, he is trying to incorporate more community service into the co-op’s schedule. Right now, every Monday night members buy food — using as many local, organic and free trade ingredients as possible — cook a feast, and have a big meal with a bunch of students and the occasional professor.
“A part of eating is sharing food with others,” Kline said, slicing apple after apple.