We had a successful cider pressing weekend recently at Barlow’s Mill. Although the production was minuscule in comparison to Herman Barlow’s runs of 60 years ago, our present equipment performed nicely.
The 7 varieties of apples yielded cider ranging from nutty, astringent and tannic to sweet and aromatic. Care was taken to achieve a blend of several varieties at all times.
Some varieties were definitely juicier than others. Upon estimating a slight shortage in apples for finishing up, one intrepid friend and her son went out into the snow-dusted orchard to shake out several more bushels! We estimate that yield ranged from 1 ¼ to well over 2 gallons per bushel. A little more might have been possible, but we tried not to crank the presses’ pressure excessively. Even so, there was a “blow out” on the oldest press which will require some major repairs. Well, she is over a hundred years old, so these things are to be expected.
We produced about 50 gallons of cider in two 8 hour shifts, including cleaning the presses and press room. Our compost bins are now full of pressed apple pomace which will be transformed by worms and other little critters into a soil amendment to be spread next year. Many jugs in the community are now bubbling merrily away in a fit of fermentation. Cider was the national drink in the days before refrigeration.