Take a self-guided tour of the Mill's production area in the Cider Gallery on the second level. The Gallery houses the exhibit Power, Process and Popularity that depicts the entire process, portraying the unique equipment that powers the Mill and offering information about apples and cider. The Gallery overlooks the original cider-making equipment that the Mill still uses to produce some 20,000 gallons of cider each fall. The actual process takes place on weekends at non-scheduled times dependent on cider sales. On busy fall weekends the Mill runs continuously from ten until two. At other times a video demonstrates the cider making process.
The cider making starts with the harvest of hand-picked New York State Apple Country® Apples. The apples are stored at 38 degrees Fahrenheit before pressing. As needed the apples are sent through the apple washer located in the Mill's old ice house where they are scrubbed with nine rows of brushes and heavy jets of fresh, clean water.
After washing, the apples fall into the grinder, a stainless-steel drum with knives running at high speends. The grinder shreds the whole apple in to a course mash called pomace. A progress-cavitey feed pump transfers the pomace to the second-level grinding area.
Layers of pomace are placed in nylon cloths between plastic racks in a formation called a "cheese." After the "cheese" is complete the entire pressing tray is rotated under the press. Pressure is applied by a two-cylinder water pump that is powered by the Lestner Water Turbine located in the basement of the Mill. The spinning turbine runs another flat belt to transfer power to the press's water-hydraulic pump creating pressure on the "cheese." The resulting sweet cider is pressed out of the pomace and held in a storage tank for the next step: assuring cider safety.
The Mill's newest piece of technology is an ultraviolet light processing machine called "Cidersure." The Cidersure process guarantees cider safety by shining high intensity ultraviolet light through a very thin stream of cider. The light eliminates the possibility of any harmful contaminates in the fresh juice the same as with pasteurization without the addition of heat, therefore retaining a freshly pressed taste. Another advantave of the UV method is that it does not damage any of the natural yeast in the juice so it will still ferment. The cider is then pumped into two storage tanks ready to be tasted and purchased by Mill visitors.
Tours are complimentary and self-guided.