2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #81[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story ]
Apple Cider Press/Grinder Geared To Small OrchardsIf you have a small orchard or U-Pick apple operation, Gerald Simons has a cider press for you. Frustrated with the small hand presses available and not having enough apples for a commercial press, Simons designed an “in-between” one that he’s now building for sale.
“Most commercial presses require a minimum of hundreds of bushels,” says Simons. “Mine will handle about a bushel of apples in 10 min. At an average of 3 1/2 gal. of cider per bushel, I can press out 20 to 25 gal. of cider per hour. You can also use it with berries, grapes and tomatoes.”
Simons designed his machine to be a one-man operation. The wheeled machine can be used anywhere with electric power. It’s also simple and low maintenance. “When you’re done with mine, clean it out, throw a tarp over it and forget about it until next spring,” says Simons.
While Simons’ cider press is made from food grade materials, in most states you can’t sell raw cider as produced with his press. You can, however, still turn cider making into a profit center.
“One of my customers with a small orchard sells people the apples and then charges them to use the press to make their own cider,” says Simons. “He’ll make money from the apples, from the press and from selling them jugs for their cider.”
The most complex part of the machine is the apple processor. It’s a long chute with a set of 20 Skil saw blades at the bottom. They are separated by 135/1000-in. shims, just enough to let the apple pulp and juice fall through into a plastic 5-gal. pail.
“When the apples hit those blades, they practically explode into juice and particles the size of creamed corn kernels,” says Simons. “You can pour apples in about as fast as you want, and the 1/2 hp motor won’t slow down.”
Safety is important to Simons. He designed the chute to curve so it’s physically impossible to get your hand to the blades. A kill switch disconnects the motor if the chute is removed.
As apples are pulped, they move to Simons’ unique barrel press, which rotates within its stand for easy loading and emptying. The complete unit (apple processor and press) is available with pneumatic drive $2,850 (MSRP) or a manual $2,250 (MSRP) design.
Simons builds his cider presses himself in groups of five. If none are in stock, it may be two weeks before one can be shipped.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gerald Simons, 570 Green Acres Lane, Bosque Farms, New Mexico 87068.
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