By Tracy Gulliver, Becketwood Member
In 2016, Becketwood celebrated autumn by renting a cider press to produce our own apple cider. It was such a success, we held the second annual Apple Cider Day in 2017. Earlier this year, Bob Kirk, an organizer of the event, asked the workshop committee if they would consider making Becketwood’s own cider press, using the funds that would have been used to rent the equipment. Always up for a challenge, Joel Mortenson agreed to take on the project.
After a month of design research and teasing out the details of apple press construction, Joel Mortenson and Todd Gulliver began building in earnest. During three weeks of intense shop time, Joel built the grinding drummer and the pressing basket while Todd built the frames that surround those two central components. Three weeks and countless workshop hours later the Becketwood apple grinder and cider press was finished.
The morning of the apple cider party, Joel and Todd made a trial run to work out any bugs in their design. An hour later, one third of a bushel of apples had been transformed into a gallon of cider.
At 1 p.m. the official processing began. Becketwoodians inspected, washed, and performed quality control of apples. Some took turns grinding and pressing apples, then filtering and pouring the cider into five-gallon containers that the kitchen supplied. Others delivered the cider to the Wellington Room so those who didn’t feel inclined to stand out in the rain could sample the finished product.
In spite of the weather, several members stopped by to study the process and pitch in to help. Many more offered to sample the finished product. By 3 p.m., four bushels of a variety of apples had been transformed into approximately twelve gallons of sweet apple cider.
Now that Becketwood has all the equipment necessary for future cider making days, some are considering doing this more than once a year. An overwhelming majority agree that the finished product was worth the effort.