Area residents flock to Cedar Creek Grist Mill for annual apple cider pressing event

Volunteers at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill have been hosting annual apple cider pressings for 25 to 30 years

WOODLAND — The sounds of the churning waters of Cedar Creek mingled with the murmur of crowds and old fashioned machinery as visitors flocked to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill on Saturday for the mill’s annual apple cider pressing.

The apple cider pressing at the grist mill offered visitors a chance not only to see the historic mill itself, but to also watch and take part in the making of apple cider in an old fashioned manner.

The event began at 9 a.m., but expectant visitors began arriving long before that to find parking and show up before the crowds.

At the Cedar Creek Grist Mill’s annual apple cider pressing day, volunteers pressed 12.5 large bins of apples into cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
At the Cedar Creek Grist Mill’s annual apple cider pressing day, volunteers pressed 12.5 large bins of apples into cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
Each visitor to the pressing day was able to bring home two jugs of freshly pressed apple cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
Each visitor to the pressing day was able to bring home two jugs of freshly pressed apple cider. Photo by Mike Schultz

The first thing visitors got to see in the apple cider process was the apple washing process. Volunteers dunked buckets of apples in a water and light bleach mixture to get rid of any contaminants on the fruit.

They were then fed through a rotating, belt driven drum powered by an antique International-Harvester engine that scrubbed the apples.

Volunteers loaded apples into garbage cans, and they were taken to the grist mill itself for the next steps in the process. The whole apples were chopped into smaller pieces, and run through a grinding machine that was powered by belts and pulleys driven by the flow of the river.

The ground up apples were then placed into a press, where volunteers and visitors then used a large hand screw to squeeze the juice out of the apples. The juice was placed in filtered vats to remove any debris from the apples.

In what is an annual tradition at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, visitors gathered on Sat., Oct. 28 to watch as fresh apples were pressed into fresh apple cider during the mill’s apple cider pressing. Photo by Mike Schultz
In what is an annual tradition at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, visitors gathered on Sat., Oct. 28 to watch as fresh apples were pressed into fresh apple cider during the mill’s apple cider pressing. Photo by Mike Schultz

Once filtered, the freshly pressed apple cider was poured into jugs and given to expectant visitors.

According to volunteer Jeffrey Berry, the Cedar Creek Grist Mill has been holding annual apple cider pressings for 25 to 30 years.

Berry said that the grist mill has approximately 10 volunteers that help staff it year round, and an additional 10 to 15 volunteers help put on the apple cider pressing.

 

Volunteer Charlie Davis worked at the apple washing station, and poured apples into a rotating, belt driven drum that scrubbed the fruit of impurities. Photo by Mike Schultz
Volunteer Charlie Davis worked at the apple washing station, and poured apples into a rotating, belt driven drum that scrubbed the fruit of impurities. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

In addition to grist mill volunteers, this was the second year that students from Battle Ground High School’s Air Force ROTC program served as volunteers throughout the cider making process.

Berry said that the cider pressing day usually consumes 14 large bins of apples, but that this year they only had 12.5 bins due to a fire at the apple distributor plant.

After being chopped, apple pieces were placed into a grinding machine driven by belts and pulleys powered by water from Cedar Creek, as demonstrated by Ken Clark. Photo by Mike Schultz
After being chopped, apple pieces were placed into a grinding machine driven by belts and pulleys powered by water from Cedar Creek, as demonstrated by Ken Clark. Photo by Mike Schultz

Despite the fall chill, visitors showed up in droves to see firsthand the cider pressing process and to get a jug of the fresh cider to take home. In very little time, a line stretched from the grist mill across the covered bridge over Cedar Creek and wrapped around the opposite bank of the creek, as new arrivals expectantly waited for a jug of cider.

Volunteers at the grist mill also told about the history of the mill, and gave demonstrations grinding corn on the mill’s historic grain mill machine that was built in the 1840s and still used today.

Inside the grist mill, visitors mingled with volunteers to learn about the mill, the cider making process and to even provide hands on help with making the cider itself. Photo by Mike Schultz
Inside the grist mill, visitors mingled with volunteers to learn about the mill, the cider making process and to even provide hands on help with making the cider itself. Photo by Mike Schultz

On the back porch of the mill, visitors listened and danced to live bluegrass music throughout the day.

Berry said that this was his seventeenth year volunteering at the grist mill and taking part in the apple cider pressing. He said that it is a family friendly event, and the family oriented atmosphere is one of the best parts of the cider pressing day.

Soon after the event opened at 9 a.m., a line had formed outside the mill of excited visitors waiting to pick up jugs of cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
Soon after the event opened at 9 a.m., a line had formed outside the mill of excited visitors waiting to pick up jugs of cider. Photo by Mike Schultz

For Berry, the best part of the cider pressing is “the kids that I see year after year.” He said that he likes to see children that come with their families to the mill as an annual tradition.

More information about the Cedar Creek Grist Mill, as well as events that occur at the mill, can be found online at the mill’s official website.

Soon after the first jugs of cider were ready, the line of visitors stretched across the bridge over Cedar Creek and began to line the opposite bank. Photo by Mike Schultz
Soon after the first jugs of cider were ready, the line of visitors stretched across the bridge over Cedar Creek and began to line the opposite bank. Photo by Mike Schultz
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About The Author

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Alex Peru is a 2017 graduate of Washington State University Vancouver. He has a bachelor’s degree in History and a double minor in Political Science and Business Administration. Peru grew up in Battle Ground, and graduated from CAM Academy in 2013. He worked for The VanCougar, WSU Vancouver’s campus newspaper, for three years, including one year as the editor-in-chief. When not working, Peru enjoys reading books about history, working on cars and enjoying the outdoors in Clark County’s beautiful rivers, lakes and forests.

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