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One more piece of my heritage gone

October 4th, 2004 Leave a comment Go to comments

I learned today that the cider mill in Pettisville, Ohio is no more.

One of my most vivid and favorite memories from childhood is apple cider time on my father’s farm in Archbold. This is what happened every fall: Dad would drive the pickup truck into the back yard, and we’d fill the bed with apples. Lots of apples. Red ones from the red apple tree (still not sure what variety, Jonathan maybe?), yellow ones from the yellow apple tree (Yellow Delicious), and green ones from the green apple tree (Granny Smith). These were no stunted dwarf apple trees, but full-sized trees as God intended for kid-climbing.

And then we’d go down the road a few miles and get our apples pressed into cider to take home. I have no idea how old the cider mill was — older than me, possibly older than my Dad. For all I knew, it had been there forever.

It was only about four years ago that we were able to repeat the ritual, taking the few bushels of apples from our small tree, adding them to the reds from my father (the yellow and green trees having succumbed some years ago) and to the apples my cousin got from a friend who was not going to harvest their tress that year. It was some of the best cider we ever had.

Or will again, perhaps. Apparantly, the Man From The Government Who’s Here to Help™ came around, and said that they couldn’t press cider anymore without pasteurization, which put them out of business.

Funny, I hadn’t noticed any epidemics. But I guess Sharkey Knows Best™.

One more small, local business enabling local farmers (and just regular citizens with backyards big enough for trees) to provide for themselves rather than rely on MegaGlobalAgriCorp™ to bring in apples from Chile or Hungary or whereever for sale in the local SuperDuperStuffMart™ — gone.

Score one for Mordor.

Obligatory links:

  • Cider rules at this house: Story on an Ohio apple farmer who says he’ll go out of business rather than pasteurize. Notes that there are about 50 producers in Ohio who don’t pasturize.
  • Issues in Food Safety: Apple Cider: An Iowa State Extension Service report.

    Many apple producers may go out of business rather than invest in pasteurization equipment or risk problems of potential microbial hazards.

    … many producers would face significant costs ($25,000) required by pasteurization …

    There have been no E. coli contamination problems in apples or apple cider in Iowa.

    … producers will go out of business in a manner similar to small meat processors.

    Do we as a society have a responsibility to keep small farmers such as apple growers in Iowa in business? How is the ethical principle of justice involved in this situation?

    How indeed?

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