Cider a family tradition for Edgewood Orchards

Apples at the orchard

It's the taste of fall - apples and cider here at Edgewood Orchards in Quincy.

The Zellerman family has owned the orchard for 83 years. Jim Zellerman and his two brothers grew up in the apple business and are now the hands behind the cider that's put the orchard on the map.

"We are busy all year round and it really is a family affair. Everyone gets involved." Click here to learn about how Edgewood Orchards got started.

Edgewood Orchards in Quincy is gearing up to harvest nearly 400 thousand pounds of apples this year. Click here for more on what apples are good for pies and other goodies.

Many of them will go into the orchard's famous cider.

Thursday the Zellerman's made their first batch of this year's cider, but what strikes you is the shear number of apples that go into this taste sensation.

The process to make cider begins with bins like this filled with more than 800 apples, freshly picked from the orchard.

"What makes our cider special is the good, quality apples used in the cider. The other is the mixture of sweet and tart apples," Zellerman said.

Those hand selected apples are washed and then head up this conveyor belt to the the grinder. Out comes a juicy pulp that's pumped into an accordion-type machine called the cider press.

Slowly the press squeezes out the apple juice, leaving behind a mesh of peelings and seeds. That mash goes back into the fields as a type of natural fertilizer.

The apple juice that was pressed is strained and then goes through ultraviolet light.

"Pasteurization effects the flavor of cider while the ultraviolet process that we choose meets the same requirements and makes good quality cider and doesn't affect the flavor," Zellerman said.

After that, the cider is jugged and ready for you to buy, but as for the secret recipe ... it's a family secret.

"Only my family and my dog Cooper know the recipe," Zellerman said.

The cider made Thursday goes on sale at the orchard this weekend.

Edgewood will hold an open house October 12 and 13th. Click here for the orchard's Facebook page.