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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Apple-A-Day: A staple of UC Davis culture and a family-run project

Behind the scenes of the juice-making process and why students buy so much of the apple product

The famous Apple-A-Day apple cider, sold at the Davis Farmers Market, has been one of the most popular stands for years. Buyers have been amazed by how tasty the cider is and have returned to the farmers market specifically for the stand. If you ask almost anyone in Davis, chances are they have something positive to say about this refreshing beverage. Which is why individual bottles sell out so quickly week after week.

The cider comes from Sebastopol, in Sonoma County, where the owner of the stand travels to pick up a van full of produce to bring back to Davis for everyone to enjoy. Melinda Garcia, the granddaughter of the owner, said the process of pressing the apples into cider is done in Sebastopol as well. Although she has only seen the process once, she recalled seeing the apples go in and out of tubes and into a presser in a big warehouse.

“That’s all I can remember,” Garcia said, “I’ve only seen it once but anyone can go up there and see it. They’re operational, I think, seven days a week.”

Garcia also noted that she believes there may be different distributors going up and down California to sell the cider. A customer once told her that they saw the apple cider being sold at a farmers market in the Bay Area, so in reality, the apple juice can be purchased in many places outside of Davis.

Garcia’s grandmother, the owner of the stand, has delivered to the Co-Op in downtown Sacramento, to Pedricks and to all the Dos Coyotes restaurants.

The apple cider does not include any added sugars or preservatives and remains  unfiltered. It is purely pressed apples, with the exception of an ultraviolet light screening that is included in the pressing process to eliminate any bacteria.

“People cannot believe that it is just apples,” Garcia said, “And that it’s so minimally processed. People aren’t used to that. Most other things aren’t minimally processed.”

Nadia Barboza, a second-year community and regional development major, loves going to the farmers market for the environment, food and of course the apple cider.

“It’s the first and only time I’ve ever had like, fresh apple juice that is literally only apples,” Barboza said. “And I think that’s really cool, and it’s really good.”

The apple cider is sold in the biggest quantities during the summer: a time when the sun is out, the days are hot and the crowds rush to get to the cider stand first. In fact, Garcia mentioned that they have begun to completely sell out on Saturdays. They will bring anywhere between 40 and 60 cases of juice, which fills up an entire van, and will end up selling out by the end of the day.

You can buy the cider in various sizes ranging from gallons to individual bottles so that you can drink it on-the-go or store it in your fridge.

“I like the sizing,” Barboza said, “it’s great for college students and, like, little kids.”

Other uses for the apple cider have been popsicles, smoothies, vinaigrettes, stews and even mimosas. There are so many uses for cider besides just drinking it, which contributes to its popularity.

While most of Garcia’s family and friends help run the stand, she recalled a time when it was just her grandfather working by himself.

“I’ve been helping him since my sister and I were like five years old and we would hang out with him during the summer, come out to these things and go get some juice and what not,” Garcia said.

Now, Garcia has expressed her interest in taking over if her grandmother doesn’t want to do it anymore. If she does end up taking over the stand, however, there isn’t anything she’d want to change.

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” she said with a laugh.

Garcia hopes that the business will continue on through the family, especially since her seven-year-old daughter has already expressed a great interest in the stand.

“She asks me every time if she can come down to the market with me, but it’s a little too much for her right now,” Garcia said. “She does enjoy herself when she does get to come. She likes actually selling and talking to people.”

It’s safe to say that the future of the Apple-A-Day stand here at the Davis farmers market is in good hands and will continue to be available for future UC Davis students, allowing the tradition to continue.

Written by: Sierra Burgueno — features@theaggie.org

Editor’s Note: The article previously listed Sebastopol as a county when it is in fact a town in Sonoma County.



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