I mentioned in an earlier post that I took the kids to an antique tractor show. One of the displays was an antique cider press…a LARGE, antique cider press. I spoke with the woman handing out the samples of cider. She said her husband came home telling her he thought the dusty old machine he spied at a farm, where he occasionally works, was a press and asked the owners if he could clean it up and bring it to the show.
It was really something to behold. Buckets of apples were dumped and washed on the tray, then gently guided into one of the holders which made its way up the conveyor. They were milled at the top and the scratting collected until a handle released it onto the thick cloth lining a wood tray. Each tray’s cloth was folded over before another tray was placed on top. When a handful of trays had been stacked, the apples were pressed and the cider flowed!
People (as well as bees) gathered to watch the process and, of course, have a taste. Imagine what this would have meant to a community hundreds of years ago…celebrating a summer’s worth of hard work, welcoming fall, and a delicious reason to gather.