Apple Cider Pressing Festivities in front of the Red Fire Farm Granby farmstand
This Saturday we headed over to Red Fire Farm to partake in the Apple Cider Pressing and Potluck. We came prepared for lots of cider and lots of fun. We arrived just before potluck lunch time. We set out our butternut squash, wheatberry, cranberry and rosemary bake and dug into other people’s really lovley very local foods, including roasted cauliflower, carrot ginger soup, winter quash chili, local veggie salad, apple cake, and more. There were also apple cider donuts compliments of Ona, Red Fire Farm’s chef.
Some delicious Potluck dishes in front of Sarah Voiland, and CSA members.
Two guys (I don't know if they were Red Fire Farm workers or just friends of the farm) working an apple grinder and press behind a big bin of cider apples.
We got ourselves in line for cider pressing. We had reserved some apples for pressing (two bushels) and paid when we got there. Then we just singed up and they put us on a waiting list for grinding and pressing apples on one of their three cider pressing setups. We waited in the meantime talking to our friend Martin, who is one of the chicken farmers at Red Fire Farm. He was overseeing the apple presses, and having a general fun sticky time with the festivities. By the way… yes apple cider pressing is pretty sticky, we learned. You get lots of apple juice on yourself.
A big bin of cider apples. There were lots of these, of which you could get a crate and fill up on apples in preparation for pressing.
Lots of activity, with people running here and there with apples, and jugs of cider, delightful screams of kids getting into apple trouble.
So how do you make cider? You get apples, and then you grind them. There were three grinders, I think all of them different. This guy is putting apples into his grinder and closing the wooden lid.
These guys had a hand crack grinder.
The setup we used had an apple grinder at the bottom of the wooden box. We had to throw apples in at the right angle to get ground by the revolving blades. The contraption was setup to a motor (bottom front).
Your ground apples look like this and are collected in a bucket. Then you take them for pressing.
Then you put your apples into a mesh bag, put that into a cider press (sort of like a little barrel with the wooden slots narrowed at the botom for juice to come out and with a hand cranked press on top). You crank the press down onto your apples.
Here's Theresa collecting the apple cider as it comes out of the press at the bottom into a bucket.
Pretty nifty, right?
The apple cider you get out of the press still has some apple bits in it, so you do a second strain with whatever is convenient.
Like an aquarium or pool cleaning screen 🙂
In the end you get this delicious brown liquid, filled with complex apple goodness. These are our two 2.5 gallon containers, pretty well filled with apple cider.
All the dry left over apple bits went into a big pile for composting.
Parents and children getting into the cider pressing groove.
We had a lot of fun talking with CSA members, farm workers and friends, and enjoyed good food and delicious cider. It was a great day.
The farm stand was also in tip top shape, and so we didn't leave without buying tons of produce and other great products (I think we will never run out of winter squash this year...)