The story of our first commercial batch of cider is one of good luck and good people. We decided, rather last minute, that we should make our first commercial batch of cider this fall, but we had a few challenges to deal with. For one, we don't yet have apples in our orchard. Second, we don't yet have a facility for producing and selling cider legally. And third, we didn't really have time to do all the work.
The obvious solution to the first problem was to buy the apples, and we got lucky on our first call. Munchkey Apples, which is located just a few miles away from us, was happy to sell us the 100 bushels we were looking for, and they were quite helpful in getting us varieties we wanted, washing them, and loading them on our trailer.
We were even luckier with the second challenge when we found a guy named Paul Blommel of Dabeeza LLC in Stoughton, WI. Paul just opened his winery and was happy to help us out and let us use his equipment at very reasonable rates. He's also kind of a mad scientist genius, who knows a thing or two about making good cider, so it was nice having him there throughout the process.
With the challenge of no time, we were lucky to have some help on the day we ground and pressed the apples. Here's our friends Corey and Adam working with Marie.
We also got some help on bottling day, again from Adam, and also from Marie's sister Anna and Anna's boyfriend Ryan.
So in spite of our lack of apples, lack of a facility, and lack of time, we pulled it off! Huge thanks to everyone who helped. We ended up with 107 cases of a dry, easy drinking cider. Enjoy it while it lasts!