Making apple cider and apple cider vinegar on the farm…

  • John was showing us the old apple press, which they still use today. “An apple press makes the whole process fun and simple. The press essentially grinds up the apples into a pulp and then presses the juices out. Once you get going, the liquid gold keeps flowing. You go from press to glass in 30 seconds! There are many presses from the simple hand press to the traditional cider press with a grinder.” The process may not be as quick using this old equipment.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Tiverton: From this site:

It is believed that the name is derived from ‘Twyfordton’ or ‘Twyverton’ as the town stands not only the Exe but also the River Lowman. Historically it was referred to as Twyford, and at some point, that morphed into the name it carries today. It was an ideal site for occupation. Many flint tools from the Stone Age were found in the area, and an Iron Age hill fort – Cranmore Castle – stands on top of Exeter Hill, which looks down on today’s town and the point where the rivers Exe and Lowman merge at Collipriest. A Roman marching camp was also discovered on the hillside below Knightshayes Court near Bolham just north of the town. Henry, I chose the town for a Norman castle with a Motte and Bailey type construction built-in 1106. Tiverton Castle was extensively remodeled in the 13th and 14th centuries.
John and Renate left at 2:00 am this morning to head to the airport for a one-week holiday. Last night when they invited us over to show us their 500-year-old house and say goodbye, it was sad to see them go. 
The second-floor weight is used in processing apples in the press.
Tomorrow we’ll share photos of their charming old house with accouterments one would expect to find in such an old property. This lovely couple certainly knows how to honor the integrity of centuries past on their historical farm.
As shown in the photo below, the apples are dropped through this funnel down to the first floor, where they enter the machine.
When we walked back to our house, for the first time, it dawned on us that we’d be entirely alone during our remaining week at the 150-acre farm, along with the 350 sheep and dozens of ducks and geese.

Of course, they stated emphatically that if we run into any issues, feel free to contact them via email. We don’t expect any problems, but one never knows. As mentioned in a prior post, a friend will be coming by each day to feed the animals, check on the sheep and ensure the geese, ducks, and chickens get into the barn at night.
This old machine received the apples from above, which come out the chute near Tom is standing. They barely resemble each other. “The difference between the taste of homemade apple cider and that pasteurized, filtered grocery store cider is indescribable. The taste of homemade cider pops in your mouth—pure, fresh, flavor-packed!  Plus, you can use all those less-than-perfect apple drops from the ground, so it’s also a big saving from the price of store cider.”
Subsequently, we don’t have to do a thing but see to our own needs, gather more firewood for the woodstove, which we’re using almost all day and evening. Renate sent her cleaner Carol to clean our house yesterday.
More equipment is used in making apple cider.
Carol was here for almost four hours, cleaning every inch of space. We were thrilled not to have to clean the house. The cost of a cleaner here is in the range of GBP 25, US $30.83 per hour. For that cost, we would have done it ourselves.  But, John and Renate kindly offered to provide this service for us.
This is where apple cider-making transpires.  From the Farmers Almanac at this site:  “In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic “hard” cider). Today, the “old-fashioned” cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.”
We don’t mean to imply we “won’t” clean.  We often do.  But, more often than not, a cleaning service is included in the holiday home’s rental agreement. This has become a feature we investigate upon booking most properties.

Back to apple cider making…when John and Renate took us on a tour of the apple cider making, which transpires in one specific barn, we were enthralled to learn about the process.
They make apple cider vinegar as well.  The barrel to the right is aged almost 20 years.

Since they use old equipment that may have been used as far back as several centuries ago, we couldn’t help but be fascinated with the process along with their commitment to making the cider using antiquated equipment. They relish the authenticity of the process they use and the product they produce using a ton of apples from their orchards.

They offered to try the cider, but sadly, we declined since I don’t drink juice (theirs is non-alcoholic). Tom has never been a fan of apple cider, so we didn’t want to bother them with opening a new container before leaving for their one-week holiday.
An algae-covered pond outside the cider-making barn.
They don’t sell their cider. A large family that visits at different times of the year, including holidays, sends their adult children and grandchildren home with plenty of cider to last throughout the year.
John and Renate showed us the original medieval door used on the 500-year-old property.  It’s been restored in part over the years.
After leaving their home, we wandered out to the greenhouse and picked some tomatoes for dinner and a handful of raspberries to add to my unsweetened Greek yogurt.  What a treat! Berries are the only fruit, along with tomatoes, that I can eat in moderation.  
The back entrance to the chicken barn.
The fact that everything from their garden is truly organic is also a treat. They use no chemicals whatsoever, and yet their garden has been richly filled with Mother Nature’s bounty each year, the remnants of which we’re enjoying now.
This ladder is used for the chickens to climb up into the barn’s upper level, where they stay at night.
With ominous dark clouds having returned to the skies, we’re content to stay put for the weekend. Soon, Tom will light the fire in the woodstove, and we’ll celebrate another pleasing day on the farm.
Be well!

Photo from one year ago today, October 4, 2018:
He’s checking out the perimeter before he gets too comfortable, resting with his brother.  For more photos, please click here.