Cider year 6: 155 gallons in 6 hours; 75% yield

The sixth annual Five Islands Orchard Cider Weekend was held this last weekend, with about 40 in attendance, including an increasingly large and energetic contingent of kids. Despite the poor apple harvest, the cider output and yield broke all previous records. Approximately three bins of apples were processed on Saturday into 155 gallons of cider in about six hours by entirely pedal-powered equipment, and the yield was an unprecedented 75% – not including cider consumed directly.

The weather was beautiful, the pot-luck grub was fantastic (among other things, Kelsey brought homemade croissants made from scratch), and the kids ran around like banshees. The side-by-side tandem drive was much more stable than the tandem bike, and Beth took her role as User Experience Officer seriously, suggesting a very effective plexiglass spray guard to protect the pedalers from flying apple bits. There were some minor technical glitches, but compared to previous years the hardware performance was very good – a more detailed report with proposed modifications for next year will follow. Here are some photos:

Trailer load of apples, infested with kids:

Apple washing crew – one of the things that contributes to the quality of our cider is that we have plenty of people available to inspect apples, and carve out nasty spots:

Kauf and Kelsey pedal the grinder:

Um and Pops pedal the grinder:

Dabinet cider apples disappear into the grinder:

A fine apple mist emerges from the crusher drums:

Loading up the press:

Roz and Eric run the bike-hydraulic press:

A waterfall of cider:

lots of cider:

urchins on the tractor:


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