The Cider-Making Process
The cider-making process starts with the washing of our hand-picked apples. The apples below are just coming out of the washer into the sterile pressing and bottling room.
In the picture below, Carter Hill Orchard's Rob Larocque hand-inspects the apples coming out of the washer in order to pull out undesirable fruit. Rob's not listening to the radio, though! Because the machinery is so loud, Rob wears covering to protect his hearing.
After they pass inspection, the washed apples head toward the grinder.
The apples are literally ground into a pulp, then they are packed into cloth slats. Below, Rick Duane of Duane Family Farms loads the ground apples onto cloth sacks.
Here's a close-up of the ground apples being pumped onto the cloth sacks.
The cloth sacks are then stacked onto wooden slats, where they are then pressed. You can see the juice pouring over the side of the slats below.
The juice that is pressed off collects in the pressing machine. You can see the unpasteurized cider collecting on the bottom right.
After pressing, the cider is run through our pasteurization machine (blue), which heats the cider to 155 degrees.
After pasteurization, the cider is rapidly chilled and ready for bottling.
While the bottling machine fills the bottles, Rick (left) dates each bottle, and Rob is capping the filled bottles.
After the bottles are capped, they need to be rinsed to remove any sticky excess juices. The rinser is the circular machine in the foreground.
The bottles are then boxed and sent off to local stores! Of course, it's also available -- hot or chilled -- in our country store.