One of the things that always says fall is here to me is apples. My brother Eric and I have a friend in our beekeeping group, Rick Camp, who owns an apple orchard farm not too far from us. One Saturday we decided to go our and watch Rick, with the help of his family, make apple cider. Now Camp Grove Orchard apple cider is the best cider I have ever had in my life folks, so I was real excited about this! LOL Rick and Tammy’s orchard is located down a picturesque country road located at Roseville,IL.
Camp Grove Orchard
373 105th St.
Roseville, IL 61473
Phone: (309) 774-4244
Open: September - November; Wednesday/Thursday 5-7pm, Friday 1-7pm, Satruday/Sunday 10-5pm
Directions: East of Roseville 6 miles on highway 116 then 3 miles south on 105th St.
Description: Apples, Cider, Honey, Pumpkins & Gourds
They have so many types of apples!
Apples: Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Arkansas Black, Jonagold, Jonamac, Jonalicious, Winesap, Empire, Paula Red, Rome, Ida Red, Jonathan, Suncrisp. Coming soon: Honeycrisp, Snow Sweet, Jonared, Fuji, Gala, Sweet Sixteen, Granny Smith, Candycrisp, Lindamac, Smoothie.
The whole family is just as nice as can be and let us wander around the orchard checking it all out. Here are some pictures of the apple cider press in operation,
The apples to be pressed are first put in this big vat of water with a bit of bleach in it. I do the same thing before I process my apples.
Then they are drained and loaded on the conveyor belt
The machine then mashes them all up, separating the bulk from the juice. Rick then takes stacks of the bulk and puts it in a wheelbarrow to be used as compost.
The strained off juice is piped to big stainless steel storage vats to be then bottled
The amount of moisture in the air from all this processing surprised me, although it shouldn’t have, as I get the same effect in my kitchen while processing fruit!
Eric and I then walked around exploring their orchard and their beehives. There were some old apple trees that were just growing the way you normally see an apple tree, but the new ones they have planted, were all espaliered.
It was great fun learning how apple cider is made and best of all… I took home a couple gallons of this tasty cider and a couple pounds of their honey:)