How Do They Do That?
The juice room at Eddisbury Fruit Farm was modified in 2002, with the grant provided by Cheshire Rural Recovery following the foot and mouth outbreak in that year. Cheshire Apple Juice was established in 1996 by Michael Dykes, who more than ten years down the line is continuing to expand the product range. Production has grown year on year; currently standing at 70,000 bottles, in 1996 this figure stood at 3,500 bottles a year.
This increase in production has led to the demand from customers to deliver throughout the Northwest and to the thriving Farmers’ Markets. Cheshire Apple Juice is sold to farm shops, grocers, restaurants, cafes’, sandwich bars and delicatessens throughout the region, providing regular customers ample opportunity to purchase their stocks locally.
The Washer and Mill
The washer ensures that the apples have been rinsed before they are sucked up into the mill to be crushed into a pulp.
This pulp is then stored until released by a member of the production team. The apples are automatically stopped by the mill when the pulp house is full. When it has been emptied it continues to crush the apples.
The pulp house is operated manually by one member of the production team, it comprises of a trap, allowing pulp to fall into the cloths below. The operator must ensure that the amount of pulp allowed to drop is not too much, as the cloth below needs to hold all the pulp, in the way an envelope houses a letter. If too much pulp is put into the cloths, seepage may occur during the pressing process.
The segments are separated using wooden slats.
For each press there are eight cloth segments, all these segments must have a wooden slat between them and also one at the top and bottom of the press.
Once this has been made up it is swivelled round so that it is lined up under the press. A trained operator then turns on the hydraulic press and the pressing of the pulp commences.
The juice from the press collects in the tray and flows down the pipe into the juice bucket. L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is then added to prevent discolouration of the juice. This juice is then pumped into a header tank ready for bottling.
Once the juice has been sent to the header tank bottling can commence. The tank is housed on a metal frame 5′ off the ground pipe work comes from the tap of the header tank and connects to the bottle filler. Once the valves of the bottle filler are opened juice runs to it, no pump is required due to the height of the tank, it is gravity fed.
The bottle filler works much the same way as a toilet cistern does. Once it fills up a ball cock inside closes the valves ensuring no spillage. Bottles can then be filled up and the juice will run through automatically, when needed.
After bottling we pasteurise the apple juice to ensure its shelf life
On average Apple Juice has a shelf life of approximately 1-2 years
After pasteurisation, the bottles are sent to the labelling room where they are labelled up accordingly and shipped out.