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updated: 9/23/2011 11:48 PM

A look at how apple cider is made in Maple Park

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  • Manuel Rivera brings in a bin of apples into the cooler to be processed later into apple cider at Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park.

       Manuel Rivera brings in a bin of apples into the cooler to be processed later into apple cider at Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park.
    Photos by Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • After undergoing a pasteurizing process, the cider is then bottled into gallon jugs.

       After undergoing a pasteurizing process, the cider is then bottled into gallon jugs.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Apples come flying out of the washer and up a conveyor belt to the grinder where the juice is extracted from the apples.

       Apples come flying out of the washer and up a conveyor belt to the grinder where the juice is extracted from the apples.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Leo Gutierrez extracts the pressings from the grinder to be later used as fertilizer in the orchard.

       Leo Gutierrez extracts the pressings from the grinder to be later used as fertilizer in the orchard.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Alfonso Umana loads the apple washer with apples to be washed and processed into apple cider.

       Alfonso Umana loads the apple washer with apples to be washed and processed into apple cider.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

Apples fly along a conveyor belt up through a contraption where they are ground, juiced, pasteurized and finally poured into gallon jugs ready for market at Kuipers Family Farm. This process, called cider pressing, usually takes place two to three times a week, yielding 800 to 2,000 gallons of cider. That's 28 bins of apples, 18 bushels to a bin, producing three gallons of cider per bushel.

In 1998, Wade and Kim Kuipers returned to their love of farming by opening their 71-acre pumpkin patch to the public in Maple Park. When the 160-acre apple orchard across the street became available, they purchased it and renamed the 231 acres Kuipers Family Farm.

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Their orchard produces more than 20 varieties of apples that combine to make their apple cider.

In addition to apple picking and cider pressing, other activities include hayrides, pumpkin picking from the pumpkin patch and even cutting your own Christmas tree during the winter months.

• If there's a place in the suburbs you would like to see featured here, email us at btsphoto@dailyherald.com.

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