The apples we used were picked in fall and stored in the apple cooler at Munchkey Apples. Our pressing day began with picking out which bins and what blend of apples we wanted to work with.
We pulled the apples out of the bins by hand, sorting through and removing any bad or rotten apples. We then loaded the apples onto an elevator which carries them up to a rapidly spinning drum with little metal teeth that grind the apples to a course pulp.
The wet pulp drops into a cylindrical press which has an internal bladder that fills with water, creating pressure that squeezes the pulp against the sides of the press. The juice squeezes through and drains down into buckets that we use to gradually fill a 250 gallon tote.
We put the leftover pomace to good use, giving it to April at Dorothy’s Range to feed her pigs. We deliver the pomace by the truck load, and the pigs seem to know it’s coming. The big boar comes to the edge of the fence, his big snout and large nostrils exploring the scents in the air. After a week of harsh winter weather, the pigs seemed to relish in their appley feast during some relative warmth. The pork in our house-made sausages also comes from Dorothy’s Range, and we can serve it knowing that the pigs lived a good life.
Above: Pigs at Dorothy’s Range eating pomace from Brix Cider
After pressing all the juice, we transported it to our new cidery in Mount Horeb. We transferred it from the IBC tote to one of our new tanks where it will spend a couple weeks undergoing primary fermentation. After that, this particular batch will get aged in oak barrels for a few months. We’ll bottle it up and serve it after that.