Our next stop was the Los Rios Orchard that we visited yesterday. The regular lots were full but thankfully we found a spot in the overflow lot. It's 10:40am and it's just starting to get busy.
In the dirt overflow lot we happened upon a grasshopper! Those don't come around our house too often, so it was special.
Alli, do you want to hold him? I'm going to name him Fritz.
This is what we're here for. The U-Press Cider Mill. Outside were giant crates of apples ready to be chosen for cider. These Fujis are sweet..
And these Granny Smith apples are tart. Mix the two together and you've got the makings of a cider.
Pop Pop - I didn't know they grew them with the stickers on them already.
That's an interesting find. Here I was thinking all these apples were from the Los Rios orchards. Down at the Riley orchards they were supposed to have U-Press but didn't have enough apples available to make into cider. I wonder if Los Rios is buying their apples in bulk for the cider. Last year all the apples were in Los Rios fruit crates.
According to the signs, it takes 17 pounds of apples (or one 5 gallon bucket full) to make a gallon of apple cider.
First comes the washing.
Everyone getting in there to clean them except Pop Pop. Can't get that cast wet.
Everyone has a job to do. The kids are going to feed apples into the hopper.
While the adults all took turns on the grind wheel.
Even one-handed we can keep that wheel spinning.
Oh no! Fritz the Grasshopper!
Theresa giving it a go.
Now it's time to press the juice out of the mash we just created.
This year they're tall enough to squeeze it out themselves.
Our buddy Nestor taking our juice and pouring it into our glass jug, while the kids hold the strainer and funnel.
And there we go! One gallon of fresh squeezed cider. Great work guys! Thanks for the fun times Nestor!
It wasn't busy at all when we arrived, but boy did it get crowded! There's lots of people in line for the two cider presses.
Time to go check out the store. There's quite the variety of apples outside available for sampling.
And if you're reading Amanda, it was nice to meet you here this weekend. Thanks for saying Hi!
Theresa's happy to have lots to taste.
Yesterday there weren't many apples available to buy, and they had ran out of the Fuji's we'd wanted. Today there's a dozen large crates filled with bags and bags of apples.
Theresa it looks like your hands are getting full. Need a cart?
There we go. And yes Ian you're right. That is an apple cart.
T asked if you could buy them individually, but no joy. The 3 pound bags are the smallest size they have. So... Theresa bought a whole bunch of varieties to try.
Last year we had a fun taste test with my family with 7 different types of apple from the farmer's market. This year T's trying to beat that record.
Whew! That's quite the haul!
Everyone got a little something they wanted. More flavored cider, cider slushy, cider float, and of course mini donuts.
We found a table in the sunshine and enjoyed the weather and the atmosphere on this beautiful day.
And to go along with that atmosphere was some live music, courtesy of Johnny Crockett. To the delight of some it was country music with a strong twang to it. My mother isn't a huge fan of country music, but boy my dad sure is.
The kids really got into it too. Songs like "All My Exes Live In Texas". I'm sure it's their first time hearing it, but they'll catch on to a chorus and singing it back loud as best they can.
After a few songs hearing Pop Pop sing along to all of them, the kids asked Pop Pop what his favorite country song was. Anything by Garth Brooks.
They headed up to see Johnny between songs and asked "Can you sing anything named Garth Brooks?" You got it!
Somebody needs to teach that boy some dance moves... But I love how free and excited he is about everything.
We had a late lunch from Chick-Fil-A while we were on the road, and I was very happy that Ian requested a sing-along on the drive home too.
2 hours later with decent traffic, we were home.
Here's the results from our trip (or at least what is still left). 10 different varieties of apples, 1 bag of pears, 1 bag of peaches, raspberries, cider, cashew brittle, fudge, and a mile high apple pie.
Just because I'm curious, I decided to weigh a few of these bags of Oak Glen apples. I could tell a few of them were lighter than others. Much to my surprise we're getting more than our money's worth. The bags averaged 3.5 pounds with some bags coming in over the 4 pound mark. Everything was at least a few ounces over 3 pounds.
Time for a teaching moment. I said those speckled jawbreakers were my favorite candy a few posts ago. I bought a medium size jawbreaker from the candy shop and Ian bought a small one. Let's see what's inside it!
With a hammer and a chisel, Ian helped me break them open. First mine.
And then his. Very pretty. Love seeing all the layers built up like this.
I had a really fun time this weekend. Theresa did a great job booking everything and planning out our day. It was a lot of fun to have my parents with us too, doing stuff with the kids and just hanging out.