The Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard starts fresh, sweet cider-pressing Saturday, September 5th , celebrating an autumn tradition for 153 years.
The 2009 pressing season marks two special anniversaries for equipment that has served the Mill and delighted its visitors.
First it is the 120th birthday of the Mill’s Boomer and Boschert water-powered, water-hydraulic, rack and cloth press. Purchased in 1889 from Syracuse, New York, this press uses the power of water from Fly Creek to turn a turbine powering a pump that creates the pressure for squeezing ground apples. At the time the press was state-of-the-art technology, which surpassed the screw and knuckle-joint presses commonly used in the printing industry.
“Our press was designed for greater speed and longevity as compared with other presses that used gear machinery to create pressure. The limited friction of water pressure enables our press to continue making great-tasting cider all these many years,” says Bill Michaels, co-owner of the Mill.
The second anniversary is the 85th year for the Mill’s two-cylinder, 25 horse-power stationary Waterloo Boy Tractor Engine shipped directly from the factory in 1924. This engine powers the grinder that grates the apples before pressing. Waterloo Boy Engines are the predecessors to those of the modern John Deere Company and were the design basis of all their two-cylinder engines.
The Mill operates these two machines every weekend through Thanksgiving to make the Mill’s famous sweet cider. “Our famous cider does change in flavor throughout the season dependant on the varieties that are available. We’ll start off with early varieties like Paula Reds and the cider will be quite tart. By mid-season we will have a wider array of varieties ranging from sweet to tart making a more complex flavor profile,” says Bill.
Mill visitors can experience the actual cider-making process in the Mill’s Cider Gallery. While making cider the facility and production leader Jack Stanton explains the Mill’s process and the use of their new Ultra-Violet Light processing machine to achieve cider safety without the need for added heat that might change the flavor of cider.
Importantly, the Mill is well known for its award-winning, fresh sweet cider however there is much more flavor to the Mill. Visitors can taste all kinds of gourmet specialty foods including Apple and Corn Salsas, Cave-Aged, Extra- Sharp New York State Cheddar Cheese, Fresh Fudge and many varieties of Apples. Also available for sampling are Hard Ciders and Wines from the Mill’s Farm Winery and fresh-baked pies and breads from the Bakery.
The Mill’s fall festival season starts Labor Day weekend. The Great American Duck Races will be September 12 & 13 followed by the popular Cooperstown Rotary Club Applefest, September 19 & 20. October events include the Big Squeeze Weekend for Breast Cancer Awareness followed by Ciderfest on Columbus Day weekend. The Mill is located just minutes from the Village of Cooperstown in Central New York State.
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