Apples for Dogs and Hot Dogs from Apples

Waterbury Center Travel Blog

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Apple Hollow's old cider press. The apples would go where the sign is. The bottom comes up and sqishes the juice out

We had about an hour’s drive west to Cold Hollow Cider, in Waterbury. It was a lot nicer drive in the sun shine, then at night. Not only could you see, the area was worth seeing. There were lots of farms and the Green Mountains kept getting bigger as we approached. We were both getting a bit excited. I know Margo was looking forward to stay at the Trapp Family Lodge, and so was I. I was anxious to see what $350 per night bought. But, there we still needed to see how apple cider was made.

 

We arrived, parked and took a picture of the old cider press they had out front.

About the Cider Press
I had only the barest idea of what the cider press did. I had no idea of the apple preparation. I figured it was more than piling apples on a plate and then squishing them until cider appeared. As I would find, why more to it than that, I wasn’t very far from the truth.

 

Cold Hollow Cider, as we quickly discovered, didn’t really have a formal tour. They had a viewing area where you could watch the apple pressing. We found that section of the store/factory after wandering around for 10 minutes or so. Not complaining, mind you. Their store was very interesting and had a large variety of homey and edible items. Plus, the smell of apple cider donuts was making us both hungry. What is an Apple Cider Donut, you ask? A donut made from a special spiced mix and using only apple cider as the only liquid.

This looks like fun to me! Spraying apples all over a tray to be compacted down

 

Even though we were both hungry the store itself and the viewing area of the factory seemed to call us more. It did not take long before we were standing in front of the big window watching the two men work. The area we were viewing consisted of a large hefty looking machine to the left, and to the right the two men were building a tower of apples to press. But, as we looked up above the window, we saw several drawings that explained the process, and made it clear that what we were witnessing was the middle of the whole cider making process.

 

It all starts with a whole bunch of McIntosh apples.

Full Stack of apple mixture. In a half hour it will be 1/3 this size
Cold Hollow only uses that variety of apple. They get them in by the truckload and store them on site. The apples are washed and the sent into a grinder. I always had pictured apple cider being pressed from a whole apple. I guess I watched too much Gallagher in my youth. But what the apples are instead poured into this grinder and are turned into something resembling mashed potatoes. Now would come the part that we actually get to see. This mashed apple mixture is pumped into the press room via a tube that looks like a vacuum cleaner hose. The press room has a two man crew. Guy #1 operating the vacuum cleaner looks like he has the fun job. He sprays the mixture onto a large (four ft square) plate that is covered with a large cheese cloth. Once he has a good layer of apple mixture, they turn off the pump, and Guy #2 pulls up the sides of the cheese cloth, making an apple dumpling out of the whole thing. Then he throws another plate on top of the first layer, and they start over.
Almost done

 

This is repeated many times. As plenty of juice had already been liberated during the grinding process, and the weight of the top layers acts on the bottom layers some juice is already soaking, oozing, and pouring out of the cheese cloth. It runs down the sides and collects in the holding tray that the first plate was stacked on. The holding tray has sides and a hole in which the juice drains. Once the two men have stacked layers about five feet or so high, the real fun begins. The stack is pushed under the large machine in the room. This as we had known all along is the cider press. After the apples where centered, they turn on the hydraulics and the pressing begins. After about five minutes of pressing, and rearranging of cheese cloth to make sure everything is good, then men leave the room while the press does it’s thing.

about the Pasturization Process
It takes about half an hour to compress this over 60 inch tower down to about 1/3 it’s original size. And for the first 5-10 minutes of that juice is coming out in copious amounts. It was quite dramatic at first, but got quickly got a little boring.

 

Boring was our signal to go explore the store some more. (Hey, that rhymes.) Plus I wanted a donut. So I got in line and while I waited, I snapped a few pictures to show the donut making process as well. If you have ever been to a Krispy Kreme you have already seen how donuts are made. These are done the same way. Their machine squirts batter into hot oil. The oil is moving like a stream. Well, a stream that is three foot long and 8 inches wide. By the time the donuts have floated to the end, their done. The lady operating it picks the pastries out of the oil with a stick.

The Pastuerizing Machine
Then they are shortly gobbled up by some lucky patron.

 

And as if Apple Cider Donuts were not enough, Cold Hollow also had a machine for making Apple Steamed Hot Dogs. I kid you not. It looked like a normal hot dog steamer, but they used apple cider with the water. I’m not sure what the cider does to the machine, but it makes the steam smell great. The hot dog tasted (like I was going to pass this up) like a hot dog. I didn’t really detect any additional flavor. They did have an apple-corn relish to use as a fixin’. That was something special. I wish I had looked harder to find a jar of that to bring home. Maybe they sell it on their website.

 

Margo had also tried the donuts and a hot dog.

The donut machine. Yummy!
This served as our lunch. We didn’t really feel like looking for some place else to eat anyway. Margo and I wandered around the store for about a half hour. Sometimes together and sometimes separate. But, that was about all we could take. As was the case in Cabot, there were at least two tour buses in the lot, and many geriatrics were also looking at the same stuff and competing for the aisles. We again decided to surrender to their masses.  We liked Cold Hollow and learned a lot. The samples of the cider, over near the pressing room, were enough to convince me to buy at least a small jug. Margo discovered some dog biscuits made from apples. We were told our furry kids back home would just love them. I planned to have the cider with breakfast one day this week. The dogs would have to wait until we got home for theirs. But, it was time to move on. Next stop; The Trapp Family Lodge and the Sound of Music

WonderDog says:
Scooter remember Apple Dog Treats! They good!
Posted on: May 25, 2009
bkretzer says:
No, I knew I wouldn't have time for anything else, so we didn't even look for a winery to tour.
Posted on: Feb 05, 2009
vulindlela says:
This was fun too.
Did you get to the Snow Farm winery? It is nearby and had some excellent wines!
Posted on: Feb 05, 2009
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Apple Hollows old cider press. Th…
Apple Hollow's old cider press. T…
About the Cider Press
About the Cider Press
This looks like fun to me! Sprayin…
This looks like fun to me! Sprayi…
Full Stack of apple mixture. In a …
Full Stack of apple mixture. In a…
Almost done
Almost done
about the Pasturization Process
about the Pasturization Process
The Pastuerizing Machine
The Pastuerizing Machine
The donut machine. Yummy!
The donut machine. Yummy!
Legendary Cider Donuts
Legendary Cider Donuts
Cider Press
Cider Press
Getting the next tray ready
Getting the next tray ready
The Green Mountains
The Green Mountains
Waterbury Center Sights & Attractions review
Watch Cider being Made
Cold Hollow Cider is a combination snack bar, gift shop, and apple cider maker. I mentioned the cider last, but that is what they primarily do. They d… read entire review
Waterbury Center
photo by: bkretzer