Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Day Off at Uncle John's

Some Michiganders will recognize Uncle John's Cider Mill. It's Sunday and we took the day off since it was beautiful weather and DH and I went on a color tour. The trees look like they are on fire here. Many of the trees even had color ranges from green all the way through crimson red - beautiful.

Uncle John's was just hoppin' and there was a line-up of cars to get into the place. I couldn't believe it. And I don't mean like two cars. I mean like thirty on the main road and then about a dozen of us in the turnaround. Whoa.

I knew it was a great day for a ride and it looks like everyone else thought so too. At the Mill they have a corn maze, horse drawn carriages, crates upon crates of pumpkins, train rides, a children's area, the cider mill, gift shop and bakery, wine barn, and on it goes....all decorated up for the holiday. My favorite bread of all time is in that bakery - it's a Peach Nut Bread and I love it. It toasts like a dream and I can thank the universe I do not live close to Uncle John's.

One of the fun things is to watch the mill and the guys making cider. It's a mechanized process all the way through except for where the kids are moving the containers in and out of the filling carousel. Since I have no bead photos to show you I thought I'd take some of the cider making process.

I was in as much wonder as the kids around me watching as the apples ran out of the bin by conveyor into the washer, up another conveyor into the pulverizing crusher. Out of that the juice went down a trough and the pulp was "spit" out the other end down a chute and into a bin. As the juice rolled down the trough by gravity it was spilled into a rolling cylinder (which I think continued to filter any pulp out). From the cylinder it passed through a filter and was pumped up a tube and to the guys on the mezzanine who were placing the jugs on the turntable where the cider was being pumped out. And, off it came and into the refrigerators. You can't get much fresher than this.

I've never been in a State that didn't have a similar cider mill and it's a wonderful season to be out and about enjoying them. When we were done taking in the sites and ooing and ahhing over the live band we took our fresh cooked donuts (they were doing that too!), our cider, and my peach bread and headed home on the back roads to enjoy some more color. On the way out we had to laugh - there was STILL a line coming into the mill just like the one when we arrived. I don't think I've seen Santa Claus lines that long.


Janel said...

Was that regular or hard cider?? :)

I love this time of year too. You just can't beat fresh cider and hot donuts!

Sharon Driscoll said...

Regular and we didn't even go into the wine tasting because the line was so long. (Sniff, sniff!). It was a great trip and despite the line of cars, you know they have a huge field for parking, we got right in. Yeah, me too, I love the fall!

rosebud101 said...

What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing with us, Sharon!