Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

Archive for tag: apple cider pressing

Crisp Air, Crisp Apples, Crisp Cider

Apple season is winding down soon here in Oregon, and everywhere I look, I see windfalls of red, green, and gold fruit.

Neighbors are just giving them away.

Naughty donkeys are sneaking into the orchard to steal as many bites as possible before being caught...

Paco in the Orchard
Who, me?

And, so, like many others, we decided to do some canning. We found out that our local tool rental company rents a cider press by the day. For $25, we got a press with an electric grinder (I think this made the process a lot easier), and a manual press. By the way, if you think a project of pressing apples won't take all day -- a couple of hours, we thought! -- I'm here to say otherwise. I didn't even think we had that many apples... so it's definitely something you should set aside plenty of time for.



Also plan for lots of stickyness.

We collected all the juice and heated it to a boil, then canned it with a boiling water bath. An internet search will bring up any number of ways to can cider, for the uninitiated (like me, before this long, long, loooooong day of apple cider pressing...)


We have a number of places listed on Farm Stay U.S. that offer apple cider pressing as an activity to enjoy on their farm, which would also be a great way to get this experience!

Soon enough, the apples will be gone, and we'll be adding some mulling spices (and maybe a little rum?) for a toasty drink around the fireplace with friends. Happy fall!

Barred Rock ChickensWhen I decided to raise backyard chickens three years ago, I consulted books and the internet, as it is so easy to do these days. But books and web forums didn't prepare me when one of our hens broke her leg. As a girl from the suburbs, whose only real outdoor chores growing up were weeding a lawn or raking leaves, I laugh now (and cringe a little) to recall our dash to the vet's office to have them put a splint on that little chicken leg, when, really, I could have handled it myself.

There's a self-sufficiency that comes from trying things on your own, trial and error, and necessity. However, if we have the foresight to seek help and knowledge from our community, we can accomplish even more.

In Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, author Shannon Hayes interviewed Los Angeles homesteader Kelly Coyne who says, "you need community. The best way to do any of this is to have someone show you how to do it. I think a lot of these skills are not easily taught by books, and when you're a person who's not been raised doing any of these things, whether it's preserving or growing or dealing with small stock, it's all very mysterious. You spend a lot of your time going, "Well, what is this?" Like, "What's this spot on the plant, why is my chicken doing that?"

Our farm, ranch, and vineyard members know about community, and the importance of sharing knowledge. Guests can get started learning a variety of skills straight from the farmers and ranchers who practice them every day.

Check out these results from some Activity searches on our site:Homemade Butter


Along these same lines, this September, Mother Earth News and Grit magazines are hosting International Homesteading Education Month.

On their website, you can find workshops, open houses, and other events, all centered around neighbors teaching neighbors and building more self-reliant communities. Find events about food gardening, renewable energy systems, raising livestock (including backyard chickens), real food preparation and preservation, fiber arts, and more.