Monday, October 3, 2011

Cider pressing and mountain music at final Joseph market

Accordionist Lorraine Ragsdale
Visitors to the Wallowa County Farmers’ Market in Joseph on Saturday, Oct. 8, will witness the old-fashioned practice of pressing apples into cider against a background of live old-time music. 

A cider press built by Mike Hamman of Enterprise will be used to make cider from donated apples. The press was inaugurated at the Farmers’ Market last year and proved to be a big hit, according to Beth Gibans, the market’s board president. 

Music will be provided by the nine-member Homemade Jam string band, specializing in “old-timey” mountain music. 

This will be the final Farmers’ Market of the season, and many of the market’s regular vendors will participate, selling produce, beef, soap, bakery goods and crafts. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Main and Joseph streets. 

The Homemade Jam band first formed to play at the Maxville Gathering in 2010. Although the band has been organized only since spring 2010, the original four members – Lorraine Ragsdale and her husband, Mike Ragsdale; Lorraine's daughter, Sandi Richerson, and her husband, Larry Richerson – have been playing together for many years.

 “The band's focus is on old-time, fun mountain music that people recognize and love,” Sandi says. “Toe tapping and smiles is what it's all about.” 

Lorraine plays the accordion and other instruments, Mike sings and plays lead guitar, Sandi plays autoharp and Larry plays rhythm guitar. Fiddler Caleb Samples soon joined the band, along with Rusty Woods on bass. 

Word soon got out about the kind of music the band was playing, and Laura Skovlin brought her banjo and sweet voice to the group. Later, Sue Juve joined the band with her strong voice, rhythm guitar and fun personality, followed by Ryya Fluit, who sometimes joins the band with her fiddle.

 All members live in or near Joseph. 

The band has performed at various events, primarily within Wallowa County but occasionally in nearby venues. Performances have included the Bowlby Bash and Watershed Festival in Enterprise, the Wallowa Valley Arts Festival, Eagle Cap Sled Dog Awards Dinner, Mutiny is Brewing, Ember's Brewhouse, antique fairs, flea markets, barn dances, the farmer's market and private parties.