September and October are my favorite months in the fall. It’s also the one time of the year that we invite friends, neighbors and family in for some fun on the farm making cider. We have two small apple orchards and if the frost is light in the spring it means we will have apples come fall. We always hope for a bumper crop of apples!!
We have about 30 apple trees on the farm and most are old, old trees that have been here through three or four generations and in the last 20 years haven’t been cared for. We are in the process of grafting about thirty new rootstock in hopes of keeping the orchards for generations to be. The grafts weren’t very successful this year but I’ll try again next spring.
My post is to show the fun we have with our family and friends at least one Sunday afternoon making apple cider. About two weeks before we make the cider I email or call everyone we would like to visit and give them the date and time. We usually have about 20-30 adults and children. Our granddaughter helps to entertain the children and our kids help with the preparations if they can. A few days before the gathering we head out on the tractor gather up 15 – 20 bushel of apples trying to mix some tart and some sweet for the best cider. We have our own cider press and some years back a motor was attached to it and the cider making becomes more fun than hard work.
I plan a small menu for a meal at the house after the cider making is complete. We just have some good old fashioned fun and at times teach someone not as lucky as we are what life is like on the farm!
Once the apples are picked and about an hour before the gathering, we bring out a large galvanized stock tank and fill it with cold water, dump in the apples and give everything a good washing. Mind you, we DO NOT spray our apples at anytime of the year. They’re as natural as can be and if a worm might get in the apple, we figure that some natural protein to add to the juice :)!!
You will hopefully be able to see the REST OF THE STORY in the following photos I’ve taken over the years of our gathering! While you’re at it go to an orchard in the fall. It’ll be the best trip you’ll take all year!!
After all the apples are pressed, we strain the juice through several layers of cheesecloth into those wonderful old milkcans. Then the jugs are filled to the rim and handed out to any and all that would like to have some. Everyone lends hand in the cleanup and then we head to the house to have a meal and drink some fresh cider. Everyone heads home with a full belly and a jug of cider. Those that hang around for awhile sit on the porch to chat or take a spin around the pond in the paddle boat or play a game of badminton or just listen to the quiet (unless the kids are having a good time in the front yard)!