Apple Picking & Cider Drinking!

It’s time, everybody — APPLE TIME! The Cortlands and McIntoshes are ready for picking, while fresh-pressed Orchard Ambrosia is in the jug.

Wander around the Vintage Orchard and you will see trees marked with ribbons. Orange means, “Pick me, I’m a McIntosh!” Sweet, tart, and juicy.

A yellow ribbon means, “Pick me, I’m a Cortland!” It’s a famous salad apple, because the brilliant white flesh doesn’t oxidize and turn brown.

But be careful, we bit this Cortland specimen 20 minutes ago and it is still too bright to observe with the naked eye. Set your solar-powered welding helmet to a shade of 10 or higher for safe viewing.

Reality bites — this year’s crop is showing a dab of “scab.” New York has received historic rainfall in 2011, and we don’t like to spray. That makes ideal conditions for fungus to leave a mark on the fruit surface. But, you will find plenty of pristine apples to pick as you wander. And truth is, the scabbed apples are totally edible. Adventurous foodies, these are the real thing!

There’s also a gorgeous crop of Mutsu apples that will be ready in a few weeks. Mutsus are quintessential pie apples, and they are virtually scab-free! The fruits this year are huge, as big as little pumpkins. Stay tuned for that crop alert in October.

Back to the here and now — we are picking crates of apples, and you know what that means? The cider press is in high gear!

Each press starts with juicy apples. Mountains of them!

Also an admixture of Indian Creek Bartlett pears.

Into the grinder they go. Bad ones are hand-selected for exclusion.

Could get a little messy; wear your mud boots.

Mmmmm, mash! The grinder creates a pulpy paste that we dump into the press.

Fill it up all the way, we got gallons to make today!

Screw the stainless steel lid real tight.

Fire up the pump. When the inflatable bladder fills with water, the mash is squeezed up against the grate, and out flows the juice!

The amber nectar — clean and fresh — gets pumped into the big tank.

Two jugs are filled at a time. Pretty rinky-dink operation… but dang tasty!

Each session takes 6 hours and produces 50 gallons. Jugs are set on the little wagon for their 20-foot ride to the farm stand! Read more about Orchard Ambrosia, including why it’s not really called cider, on our web page here.

Well, if you can’t tell from all this apple talk, autumn is right around the corner. Yesterday was cold and rainy, so these awesome farm gals camped out by the wood stove. Cozy times at the ‘Creek!

The farm stand still has summer bounty; live it up while you can. Peaches will be totally gone this weekend, but there are piles of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, onions, garlic, and more! See you at the farm.

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