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Cedar Creek Grist Mill draws long lines for fresh apple cider

The annual event at the historic mill in northeast Clark County is one of the year’s more popular

WOODLAND — For the past three decades, Clark County families have lined up on the last Saturday of October along the path that leads to the old Grist Mill along Cedar Creek. They did so again this past weekend, despite the threat of rain, to take part in the popular annual tradition.

Families line up on the pathway to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for apple cider pressing day. Photo by Mike Schultz
Families line up on the pathway to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for apple cider pressing day. Photo by Mike Schultz

Starting at 9am, families lined up all the way past the covered bridge that leads to the popular scenic destination for a shot at helping over a dozen volunteers press cider. Younger visitors get to watch nearly four tons of apples get washed, scrubbed, chopped up, and then through an old fashioned grinding machine powered by belts and pulleys moved by the powered by Cedar Creek below. At the end of it all, they get to go home with a bottle of the freshest cider you can find around these parts.

Visitors get to assist in the final step of the process, operating a press by turning an old hand screw to extract the juice from the apples. That juice is then filtered before being bottled.

Cedar Creek Grist Mill volunteers Randy Thompson and Charlie Davis dump apples into a tumbler that helps clean them. Photo by Mike Schultz
Cedar Creek Grist Mill volunteers Randy Thompson and Charlie Davis dump apples into a tumbler that helps clean them. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill has been around for well over a century now, opening as the Red Bird Mill in 1876, 13 years before there was even a Washington State. It was originally used to mill wheat grown in fields all over northern Clark County, usually used for animal feed. In 1961 the Fort Vancouver Historical Society leased the mill, helping to get it on the national register of historic places. They also helped to replace the rotting foundation of the aging structure.

The mill is now operated as a working museum by the Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. They helped to build a new covered bridge in the early 90’s to replace the old one that was falling apart.

People lined up across the covered bridge leading to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for Apple Cider Pressing Day. Photo by Mike Schultz
People lined up across the covered bridge leading to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for Apple Cider Pressing Day. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Apple Cider Pressing is just one of a number of activities held at the mill throughout the year, including Bread and Butter Day, Blueberry Pancake Day, and Treat Day. It also remains a popular spot for photographers and painters alike.

The mill is staffed by around 10 volunteers during the year, with a few more on event days. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can visit the mill’s website.

The Cedar Creek Grist Mill is located at 43907 NE Grist Mill Road, Woodland. Contact volunteers at the Mill at (360) 225-5832.

Volunteers Ken Clark and Zachary Morrison help Riley Shirley operate an old style cider press at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. Photo by Mike Schultz
Volunteers Ken Clark and Zachary Morrison help Riley Shirley operate an old style cider press at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. Photo by Mike Schultz
Baskets full of washed apples are hauled off to be cut up and then pressed into cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
Baskets full of washed apples are hauled off to be cut up and then pressed into cider. Photo by Mike Schultz
Shirley Alexander and Thomas Kanooth cut apples at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill cider pressing day. Photo by Mike Schultz
Shirley Alexander and Thomas Kanooth cut apples at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill cider pressing day. Photo by Mike Schultz

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About The Author

Chris Brown

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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