Cider press party

by Jessie K on October 30, 2012

One of the highlights of fall is attending our friends Brendan and Susan’s annual cider press party at their farm, Stone House Farm here in Virginia.

Tons and tons of apples are squashed…

…using Brendan’s turn of the century cider press he’s retrofitted to make like new. (And by “turn of the century,” I don’t mean 2001…I mean 1901. Brendan is a mechanical engineer turned farmer who has a serious knack for equipment.)

The apples (Winesaps) are loaded into the press…

…squashed to smithereens and come out the other end as the freshest apple juice you will ever have.

Everyone brought jugs, bottles and carboys to be filled with the fresh cider for home.

The day was brilliant and blustery — ideal cider pressing conditions.

And it wouldn’t be Virginia without an impromptu jam session. I think they busted out Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison” here.

Everyone had their fill of apples, apples and more apples.

The apple pulp is a precious resource. Not only does it make fresh, nutritious food for our broiler chickens which makes for better tasting meat but it can be combined with yeast and sugar to make a mash for fermentation — alcohol, baby!

With our admittedly giganto haul of juice, Jake and I are brewing 5 different varieties of hard apple cider. They should be ready to quaff sometime around the holidays.  Mmmmm!

Thanks again, Brendan and Susan, for another primo pressing party.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill Adams October 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm


To cool! My husband wants to build a cider press! We’re very much into the old ways of doing things. Although, my Black & Decker juicer worked really well this year! 😉

Jessie K October 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm


Whatever it takes!

Jessalyn October 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm


Q: So, per Jill’s comment, could a juicer (circa Jack LaLanne) be used to press fresh cider? And further, how to bottle/store this fresh cider/juice if not turning into hard cider right away (is that even possible?) – does one need to add lemon juice?

Jessie K October 31, 2012 at 9:10 am


I’m certainly no expert here but seems like a conventional juicer would work just as well but with a much smaller yield. As for preserving, I would probably freeze cider; canning is too much work and won’t result in “better” flavor than frozen. Some good information here:

bladerunner5 October 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm


Do any of you make apple cider vinegar too?

Jessie K October 31, 2012 at 9:04 am


I’ve never made it but it sounds great.

Judy Workman October 31, 2012 at 2:35 am


Fresh juice is fabulous tasting. I would be very nice to friends like this! You are lucky to have them. It sonds like a very fun event.

Courtney November 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm


This is awesome. Being city folk, we just went to Whole Foods and bought 5 gallons of their unfiltered apple juice, which is currently fermenting in our spare room … But I have a questions about the scraps – you do what?? I’ve been canning bunches of apples and have, therefore, lots of scraps. I just read an article on how to turn them into ACV (basically cover with water for a day, strain out solids and let sit, covered, for a long time until it turns to vinegar) but more alcohol would be sweet too. Do you treat the scraps like beer mash?

Josh Urso November 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm


Impressive amount of hard cider. We just started doing that last autumn and loved the results. Curious about the 5 types you’re fermenting. They look similar, so, what’s the difference?

Jessie K November 6, 2012 at 9:10 am


Hi Josh: THey all look the same because that shot was taken right before we started the fermentation process. Let me double check with Jake the 5 varieties he decided on and get back to you!

Janna Mauldin Heiner October 17, 2015 at 11:33 am


Enjoyed reading this! We own an old press, too, a commercial one built in Mt Gilead, OH probably around 1915. It took some effort to restore, but it’s sure fun now. If you’re interested, you can see a slideshow of the restoration and test run:

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