For years, the team behind Anxo cidery has been cruising DC streets looking for apples to produce limited-run small batch brews. In 2020, they began recruiting the public to help with urban apple foraging. This fall, they’re continuing that tradition to make a one-off “DC As Fuck Cider” with all proceeds benefiting the DC Abortion Fund.
Start looking around, and you’ll realize apple trees are all over the place in the District. Anxo is looking for all kinds, including crab apples—small tannic and acidic fruit that happen to make great cider. (Pears are welcome too.)
“A lot of people have old apple trees in their yards, and when it’s harvest time, they start falling, they attract rodents. A lot of them are on the smaller side—and those apples are great,” says Anxo co-founder Rachel Topelius.
Even if you don’t have your own apple or crab apple tree, you might stumble upon them growing in medians and other public areas. Anxo asks that foragers get written permission from home owners to harvest on private property. Want to forage but don’t know where to look? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll assign you to a spot that’s ripe for the picking. You can also tip her off to prime trees.
Topelius says bruised or spotted apples are OK, though avoid rotten apples. Once you’ve collected your bounty, drop it off at Anxo’s Brightwood Park tasting room (711 Kennedy St., NW) during open hours. You’ll be rewarded with a draft cider for your efforts.
Anxo will continue to collect the fruit as long as it’s in season. On October 30, head to the cidery for its Happy Trees Festival, where you can watch the pressing process. The event also includes a foraged mushroom market, smash burgers, and a dog costume competition. Come dressed as artist Bob Ross or one of his “happy trees” paintings, and get a discount on your bar tab. The event benefits Casey Trees, a non-profit dedicated to restoring and growing the tree canopy in DC.
The crowdsourced cider, however, won’t be ready to sip until later in the winter. It will likely only be available in the tasting room. In the past, Anxo has only produced a very limited amount—five to 20 gallons—but they’re hoping to make more this year, especially since proceeds will benefit abortion access.
“Foraging is kind of a great equalizer,” Topelius says. “Everyone has access. There are crab apples growing all over DC.”