We were lucky enough to travel up to Vermont to visit Maris’ sister, Lauren, and her sweet family. They live on several acres of land shared by her husband Jason’s family, all who live in houses built from the trees surrounding them. The expansive fresh gardens and orchards, which seem straight out of a fairytale, are offered to the community through a Farmer’s Market down the road. We picked raspberries and hiked up mountains and through the woods. We had precious family time and bonded over tasty food and drinks – check out this awesome farm to table restaurant.
One of the highlights of our trip, however, was learning how to make hard cider! Lauren and Jason own a hard cider business called Whetstone Ciderworks. Their dedication to their cider is outstanding and we were appreciative to have even a small part in the process. We joined them on their first apple pressing day of the season and learned first-hand what goes into this carefully crafted drink that we love.
First, Lauren and Jason select the specific types of apples they wish to blend to create their desired flavor.
These fresh apples, which come from local Vermont orchards, are dumped down a chute into their 100 year old apple press where they are ground whole.
The ground apples land on a filter.
Jason goes through this process about six times until there are six stacked filter layers of grounded “mush” – more mush, more juice! A hydraulic press then squeezes out every last drop of the ground apples which drain into a tub underneath. The dry apple scraps don’t go to waste as they are fed to the pigs and composted.
The juice is then pumped from the tub into huge refrigerated tanks. The fermentation process occurs inside the tanks until they are ready to be bottled into crisp hard apple cider.
This abbreviated summary doesn’t do this process justice as a ton of hard work, thought, and care go into the designing, manufacturing and distribution of this household business. After learning the process, we definitely have a newfound appreciation for our favorite drink. We had a blast and definitely ate
a few a lot of apples along the way 🙂 A huge thanks to Lauren and Jason of Whetstone Ciderworks for showing us “behind-the-scenes”!