Sunday, September 21, 2008

Make a Visit to a Cider Mill Part of Your Autumn


Sarah enjoying an apple

Autumn is fast approaching (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere anyways), days are getting colder, the trees are changing colors, and the days are getting shorter.  The Apple Fest held at a local farm by my oldest daughter’s first grade class this past Friday got me thinking about apple cider. One of the fall activities that I have always enjoyed was going to cider mills.


The apples!

Since moving to Germany, I have not been able to find cider.  They have some nice apple juice here and kids drink a lot of it, in addition, there is apple juice mixed with mineral water which is called Apfelschorle or sometimes Apfelsaftschorle.  Apple wine is also pretty popular.  Friday was the Apple Fest for my oldest daughter’s class and we were at a local orchard where we got to see them make apple juice.  When I arrived the farmer had loaded several apples into the lift of a tractor and the apples were soaking in water.  They then took the apples from the lift and put them into a chopper.  The apple press was prepared for the apples with some burlap sacks placed inside to keep the apples from sticking to the press.  Then the chopped apples were added.  After all the chopped apples were put in, the apples were covered up and several boards were placed on top.  Some apple juice came out immediately and then the chopped apples were pressed.  The kids enjoyed watching the process and the farmer let the kids help out too.  After the juice was done we all got to sample it, and it was delicious.


The chopper!

If you have a little bit of a drive to the cider mill you can soak up the beauty of the trees changing color along the way.  If the cider mill is actually on the orchard you can take in that fresh fall air as you walk along.  It is hard to beat fresh cider and seeing it made at the cider mill makes it that much more special.  Besides drinking it cold, you can heat up apple cider to drink, warm and soothing on for these cold autumn days and nights.  You can add cinnamon and other spices to your cider to suit your tastes. Adults can also let it ferment, so that you can enjoy hard cider.  I found some nice recipes for things you can do with apples at the University of Illinois- Urban website.


The press!

When I lived in Michigan, there were several nice cider mills in the Metro Detroit area to visit. One of the most famous of these cider mills is the Franklin Cider Mill which has been making cider since 1837.  In Rochester Hills you can find the Yates Cider Mill, which has been in existence since 1863.  In Goodrich you can go to Porter’s Orchard, which has been a local staple since 1921.  I don’t have a website for Porter’s Orchard, but you can find a nice review of it at Michigan Cider Mill, All About Apples gives you directions as well there are maps from Yahoo Maps and MapQuest.  I lived close to Porter’s Orchard for around ten years, so I can’t rave enough about how wonderful it is. They make cider six months out of the Year, and you can pick your own Apples (they grow 15 different varieties of apples!) as well as Pumpkins.  They offer hayrides on weekends in September and October. They grow a variety of other fresh fruits available in various seasons. They make their own wonderful cider donuts (nice to eat along with warm or cold cider) as well as other baked goods. They have a whole assortment of other charming products available including; popcorn, honey, jams & Jellies, maple syrup, and a whole lot more. You can find a list of other cider mills in the Metro Detroit area here and for cider mills in Michigan (including many outside of the Metro Detroit area, which can be nice for when you feel like a going for a drive).


So I hope that you get a chance to go to a cider mill and enjoy the fall season.  While you’re there don’t forget to buy some cider and apples to take back home.  I have posted more pictures from our trip to the local farm at Flickr  (if you wish to see them). Are there any cider mills that you’re particularly fond of?  Are there any fall activities that you really enjoy?  Please let me know what you think. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, associates, and anyone that you think might be able to use anything that is written here. If you like what you’ve read, why not subscribe via email or your RSS reader of choice. I’d also appreciate it if you shared any ideas for reaching more readers. Please share our posts on , Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social bookmarking or networking site.

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