In September, a group of friends were invited to the farm of someone that our group knew up in Sonoma County. The farmer invited us to come camp out in his grove of fruit trees, pick apples, spend the night, and then make apple cider the next day. Someone in our group had all the necessary apple pressing/cider making supplies. It was a great way to spend a weekend - we picked apples for ourselves, and helped the farmer pick his other crops.
What I really enjoyed about this experience was the collective effort. We all worked together to pick the apples, cook the meals, and make the cider. One person brought the apple cider-making equipment, another person brought a solar oven and made an apple pie. The farmer generously donated his apples and his land do us in exchange for some farm labor and apple cider. We learned how to make apple cider. At the end of the weekend, everyone went home with a gallon or two of fresh-pressed apple cider.
Consider seeing if you can start up a similar campout with your friends. Maybe someone has fruit trees that they need help picking, a vegetable garden that they need harvesting? Or even an animal that needs to be butchered? Although there are classes offered in many places, sometimes they are expensive. With the right place and the right combination of people, you could create a collective effort that doesn't cost a lot of money.
(Images: Kathryn Hill)