Williams Orchard’s Apple Cider is nothing but apples. No other ingredients. It’s as pure as you can get. The Flint Hill, Virginia business has been pressing cider for quite some time. Their bank? Atlantic Union Bank. We’ve been a proud supporter of local businesses like them for over a century. See how cider is made in this excerpt from “Made in Virginia,” the Atlantic Union Bank sponsored PBS series.
Located 60 miles east of Washington D.C., and nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Williams Orchard has been a family owned and operated farm since 1921. Producing peaches, garden fresh vegetables, beef cattle, apples, and fresh pressed, unpasteurized apple cider.
"Our cider is unpasteurized. It hasn't been through a heat process or ultra-violet light. It's just all-natural juice. It's nothing but the squeezed apple and the juice and nothing added. It has a cleaner, more distinctive taste to it that people enjoy. And especially the older people because it's what they remember from 30, 40 or 50 years ago. That's all they had then."
Apples are harvested and 3-4 varieties are mixed into a bin that holds 18-22 bushels. The bin is tilted and the apples put onto a table and inspected for rot and excess leaves. Then the apples are washed through a set of wet brushes. Then the apples travel up an elevator conveyor to a hammer mill where they are ground into a pumice.
The pumice moves to a stainless steel tank and then is pumped out a table onto a tightly woven cloth sack. Once the sack is full, a plastic rack divider is placed on top of the sack. Then, a new sack is placed on the plastic divider and filled with pumice. When they reach 11 cloth sacks of pumice in height, they slide it all under the hydraulic press. The press squeezes the pumice, at a pressure of around 800 pounds per square inch, and extracts the cider.
The dry pumice is removed and is used as feed for cattle the following day. The pressed cider is pumped into a stainless steel refrigeration tank where it stays overnight. The cider is jugged in half-gallon and gallon jugs the next day, stored in an industrial refrigerator, and sold direct to customers from the farm.
As Williams Orchard looks to the future of the farm, they plan to continue the tradition of producing some of the greatest tasting apple cider right here in Virginia.