About Our Press!
Cider’s been made our way — called the rack and cloth method — for hundreds of years. Visitors love to watch our 1920-vintage press in action. Here’s how it works:
We get in a whole bunch of apples (last year we used 7.5 million pounds), inspect ‘em and wash ‘em one last time. Then, up the elevator they go to a high-speed grinder where the apples become a mash called pomace, with all the parts — seeds, stems, skins, everything. A powerful screw pump pushes the pomace through a tube onto a heavy-duty cheesecloth on the press cart.
The cloth gets folded over, like a burrito, and we lay a rack on top. We repeat this 18 times, creating a sort of apple-mash wedding cake. Then a hydraulic piston applies 2,500 pounds-per-square inch of pressure. This squashes out every last precious drop of the apple nectar, leaving nothin’ but a dried-up, doormat-like leftover.
What happens to the squeeze-out pomace? Well, local farmers pick it up most of it for livestock feed. What they don’t take goes into a big compost pile. It’s full of nutrients for Vermont gardens — so every last bit of the cider-making process has a use.
As for our old press, we like it so much that in 2000 we bought a second old press, from a nice couple in Wisconsin who were getting out of the cider business. Not us! The demand for Cold Hollow Cider, with its vibrant taste of New England apples, just keeps growing.