Canadian orchards face an enviable problem: they're over-productive, resulting in heaps of apples, pears and cherries left to rot each season because it's simply too expensive to transport, store and process them. But that's where this mobile cider mill comes in.
Using conventional (read: stationary) cider mills requires driving truck-load after truck-load of fruit to them — an expensive proposition for orchard owners already working on paper-thin profit margins. Just letting the fruit rot on the vine winds up being more profitable than shipping it out to the mill. But what if instead of bringing the orchard to the mill, the mill came to the orchard?
That's exactly the thought Canadian fruit liqueur distributor Frank Dieter had 15 years ago as he set about building the world's first mobile cider mill. Set atop a 5m trailer and powered by a 32hp diesel engine, this five-stage cider making machine was designed specifically to utilise fruit that would otherwise go to waste.
The mill employs a five-step process to make cider: first the apples are sorted and pressure washed, then shredded and grated into a mash. From there, the fruit slurry is mashed against a seven-layer rack, then umped through a cloth filter to remove most of the pulp, and into a pasteurisation tank. From there, the sterilised juice is packaged into a five-litre wine-in-a-box setup, which allows it to keep for up to a year (and three months after first being opened) without refrigeration. A three-person team can process 40 bushels of apples into 500 litres of cider every hour.
There are currently only four of these machines in existence, all of which reside in Canada, but hopefully they will make their way south eventually. What could be better than picking apples and watching them turn into cider, right on the spot? [Farmhouse Cider via Modern Farmer]