When you think of fall in mid-Michigan, pumpkins, donuts, and apple cider easily come to mind.
We all know where to get apple cider, but many may not know how it’s made.
One by one, apples are picked and thousands end up on a giant conveyor belt at Country Mill Farm in Charlotte to be turned into another fall treat.
“We separate them by size. So we use the smaller apples, which still taste good but they’re not big enough to eat. Then we use those for making cider,” says Owner, Steve Tennes.
Between giving student tours, he’s also creating gallons of apple cider 2 or 3 times a week.
“We take the small apples and we chop them up, and we literally squeeze them at about 80 pounds of pressure per square inch,” says Tennes.
He says a cloth creates a barrier for seeds, only allowing liquid to pass through.
“Literally the cider comes right out of the chopped apples,” says Tennes.
That cider, then heads upstairs for UV light treatment to kill harmful bacteria that may be present.
It’s stored at temperatures around 30 degrees until ready to be bottled.
The leftover, Tennes says, will go to the animals and the hardest part, is the cleanup.
“Just like at home when you make a big meal then you have to clean it up. That’s at the end of the day and that takes about 3 hours regardless of how long you press cider for,” says Tennes.
He says it takes about 40 seconds for one apple to go through the machine and be pressed into cider.