Our orchard was primarily used to grow apples for cider. My mother had Kate’s Sweet Cider as a business when I was in high school. We still own the crusher and press and had hoped to get it all running. This year we had a huge crop of apples. We couldn’t get pickers and so most are feeding the sheep but our neighbors from Stone Cottage Winery came over and we made one press load of cider from the remnant apples.

First the apples had to get picked. The Helleckson’s used the low effort picking method.

Ken and I walked on the ground and picked what we could reach. The apples had frozen and most had fallen so it was not really easy to find good ones. Any that looked too bad we tossed to the ground for the sheep to eat later.

The wine press was brought over. Ken had done a lot of work on the apple crusher to get it ready to run and so we used our crusher and the Helleckson’s wine press.

Our first discovery was that the angle was wrong for the entry funnel and the crusher tossed apples right back at us. We put the table up on blocks and built a quick makeshif shield and got the apples crushed.

Brent watching the juice come out.

It was dark before we finally finished and started the cleaning process.

The cake of apple leftovers.

Final cleaning of the main pressing bladder.

We picked about 3/4 of a bin of apples and got about 30 gallons of juice. Ken and I kept about 5 gallons which we have frozen. It was really nice to finally have real cider again.