Jamestown, N.Y. Color is not a reliable measure of an apple’s ripeness, and whether making sweet cider, hard cider, wine or preserves, knowing when your apples are actually ripe is essential.

Orchardist Al Yelvington can teach you this skill at the Testing for Apple Ripeness Workshop at Audubon Community Nature Center on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

At this class you will learn how to check sugar and starch levels, then take home a brix/gravity refractometer and a bottle of Lugol’s solution iodine.

Fruit to test and gloves will also be available. Bring under-ripe fruit from your own trees if you have it.

After 33 years in the Coast Guard, Yelvington started his cider orchard, Happy Dog Farm outside Russell, Pa., to provide juice specifically for hard cider makers. Happy Dog Farm includes a community cider mill that is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Yelvington’s degree from the Virginia Tech Online Masters in Agriculture and Life Sciences (OMALS) focuses on pest and weed management. 

The fee for the program is $20 for adults, $15 for Nature Center members, plus a $50 equipment fee.

Enrollment is limited and paid reservations are required by Sunday, September 20, 2020.

Reservations can be made by calling (716) 569-2345 during business hours or by going to AudubonCNC.org/Programs and clicking on “Current Schedule.” 

Audubon’s COVID-19 safety precautions require face coverings for all visitors ages 3 and up for indoor programs. Face coverings are also required outdoors when visitors cannot maintain six feet of distance between family groups. 

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. On Saturday, September 5, the first floor of the Nature Center building, including the Blue Heron Gift Shop, re-opens to the public Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Because not all of the building will be accessible, admission is by donation only.

You are welcome to visit the 600-acre nature preserve from dawn to dusk daily. Enjoy the native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, and six miles of trails, and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, while practicing safe social distancing measures. 

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345 during business hours, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.