Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Old Ways Help The New Ways Come

There are moments of my early years on Metzger Heritage Farm that are crystal clear in memory. There was the time everyone pitched in to dig deep trenches out by the rhubarb to plant asparagus. Being new to the family and anxious to please Arthur Metzger Sr. who supervised from his seat on the Wheelhorse tractor, I was so very conscious of placing those long straggly white roots just right. 

Arthur Sr. was behind many additions to the farm in the 1970s including the Garden Way cider press which he put together in the shop.

Apples were gathered from the ancient Northern Spy trees and what we now call the 1950s orchard with its Golden and Red Delicious dwarf apple trees. We all took our turns turning the crank to grind the apples. Such glorious sweetness poured from the little hole on the bottom of the tray into the waiting graniteware kettle on the grass!

Though he wasn't given the gift to watch his grandchildren turning that crank, we've dragged the old Garden Way cider press out of the shop nearly every fall, sometimes hosting a cider pressing party for friends, always pressing a couple of gallons for family and once pressing cider with a slew of kids and their families from the Austin School. That year cider sales helped finance the annual legendary trip to Pittsburgh for Mr. Metzger and his students. 

Joey & Kate Metzger with "Auntie Snip"

Joey keeping close watch on the process

Aucotts: Mike, Louise and Gabe
Arthur & Anne Acker(?) on the left

Zach Pucci, Paul Heimel, Joey Metzger, Blair Heimel, Maggie Acker

Steve Heimel, Paul Heimel with Paul J. on his shoulders,
Kate Metzger, Chris Heimel, Joey Metzger & Arthur Metzger

Zach Pucci on his way to the cider press

Paul Heimel, Kate Metzger & Zach Pucci

Sabrina & Rachel Newton (Jorge in back)

These days, our cider production is a small commercial operation and the apples head a bit north to Canisteo, N.Y. to be pressed in a gigantic press to yield their juices.

But the old Garden Way press waits in the shop for the time when the next generation of family and friends will turn the crank and savor that first taste!