A new Manitoba farm-based company offering apple pressing for backyard growers expects to start operations this week.
Burwalde Juice Co., located on a farm north of Winkler, is the newest apple press providing cold-pressing, pasteurizing and bottling services to those who drop off loads of apples to be made into cider.
They purchased the press from a Winnipeg-based business, the Cramptons, who ran the press only for one season, faced with time constraints and other restrictions trying to operate an apple press inside city limits, explains Marcus Wiebe, the Winkler-area vegetable grower who launched Burwalde.
Wiebe knew demand was intense at peak season for apples — and Manitobans have definitely acquired a taste for cold-pressed apple cider. Knowing the Cramptons’ limitations to operate the press and wanting to diversify their own farm’s income, he jumped at the chance to take it over, he said.
“They (Cramptons) offered it to us and we looked at the numbers and said ‘we think we can do this,’” he said.
The business will offer a convenient pickup site for apples and will drop off fresh-pressed juice for Winnipeg and Winkler customers, he said.
The new business’s website includes details, sites, times and dates customers can drop off apples and return a couple of days later to pick up their orders of two-litre jugs of juice.
They’re offering the drop-off service for customers’ convenience but it also fits well with their own regular delivery trips of farm-grown vegetables to Winnipeg, said Wiebe. Customers can also book a time for pressing and drop off apples directly at their farm.
Word an apple press is operating again is good news for all those who’ve come to anticipate the first sip of cold-pressed apple juice as abundant apples ripen during midsummer.
Apple presses have created a high-value product out of backyard and surplus apples that might otherwise have gone to waste, and it’s been a high-demand service among other operations. But pressing has had its share of challenges over the years too.
Until 2014 many took apples to Apple Junction at Landmark but in the early spring that year faulty wiring led to a fire burning down the building housing the press. That left nowhere to get apples pressed for two seasons until the Cramptons made the service available again for the summer and fall season of 2016.
“Lots of people are saying they’re excited to get their apples pressed again,” Wiebe said. He’s also anticipating large-volume orders for juice this fall.
It takes approximately 15 lbs. of apples to produce one four-litre jug of juice so the Wiebes ask that customers cite the amount of apples they have when booking a pressing. That helps them gauge how much time to allow to process an order for cider, but no one need have large volumes to book a pressing.
“Our customers will be anyone who has trees,” he said, adding there is no minimum order size. Cider will also be available for purchasing for those who don’t have any apples.
The Wiebe family farm doesn’t have any of its own apples right now. Deer decimated about 50 apple trees they once had, Wiebe said.
“But if this goes well, I’ll have to plant some more apple trees.”
More information and forms for booking a pressing at Burwalde Juice Co. are found at www.burwaldejuice.com.