A Boomer and Boschert cider press has been squeezing fresh apples at the Fly Creek Cider Mill for 130 years. Most presses use an oil hydraulic system, but here they use a hydraulic water press. The press was brought to the mill by horse and wagon and has been running ever since it was installed, but why use such outdated equipment? Vice President of the Fly Creek Cider Mill, Bill Michaels explains why.
"This is probably the most inefficient press in America just because we’re making cider with equipment that’s 130 years old, but it’s really the heart of what we do here."
Bill Michaels explains how the system works.
"Once we turn the turbine on you’ll see the power is transferred over here to our pump, which then creates water pressure on the press. The process takes about 20 minuet’s to make 100 gallons, and then it’s all, as you can see, labor intensive. We do have a new grinder, and we’re pumping that up from downstairs in the mills old ice house. It goes through our grinder and then it’s pumped up here through a progressive cavity feed pump."
Bill tells us the simplicity of the machinery is really the key to its longevity.
"The process that they just finished is called laying up a cheese. In a full cheese there’s 10 layers, and it takes about 32 bushels to make all 10, and this will produce about 100 gallons of cider for us."
It may not be the quickest way to produce cider, or the most efficient, but what it lacks in productivity, it makes up for in love.
"I’ve been pressing since I was about 10-12 years old, so this is probably my 40th year making cider the old fashioned way, and my mom just told me yesterday- last weekend’s cider was great!"
The Fly Creek Cider Mill’s is in the Upstate NY hamlet of Fly Creek just minutes from Cooperstown.