Erickson’s Orchard ramps up production with new cider press

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In Bayfield, Wis., Erickson’s Orchard is hard at work meeting the demand of this year’s busy apple season.

Their Apple Cider has been a big hit. It’s all natural with no preservatives, so when Apple Festival comes around they need a lot to meet the needs of the thousands that come to visit the area.

And now with a new cider press, they’re able to ramp up production.

“I’m getting 25% more yield using this machine versus what I was doing,” says owner Fred Erickson. The new amenities include a new lift, auger, and tri conveyer system.

The orchard now uses renewable bins transported by forklift and then processed in house.

“And our old way was dumping by hand,” says Fred. The workers had to put in major manual labor when it came to getting the cider process going. “The most we ever did in one day was 700 bushels. And that was hand dumping, all day, all day,” Fred said.

With a more efficient and cleaner process, the amount of cider they can produce has nearly doubled.

Fred Erickson says, “We can do about 2,000 gallons a day if [we] really push it… [we] could maybe push out 1,300 gallons and in 12-14 hours [before].”

And even with their improved cider making strategies, the orchard still sticks to their roots. They are a 3rd generation farm starting all the way back in 1910.  Fred says their operation is rare.

He says, “We’re becoming a rare breed of generational farmers. Not a lot of families are sticking with it.”

And he enjoys maintaining the magic that comes with being locally owned as more and more people come to visit the orchard.

“I don’t want to ever be a factory. I love the charm of the farm and you know, it’s our legacy,” Fred said. “It’s our generational legacy to keep this place going.”