One Amazing Apple Press

Brocard barn, smallAfter many years of wanting to visit Joe Brocard and his famous apple press, I finally made it to his annual public pressing last weekend. Joe and his wife, Catherine, brought the press to Oregon from the East Coast, where his father and grandfather had pressed apples for farmers from miles around, beginning in 1913. Now that Catherine is long gone and Joe has passed ninety years, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren do the work of pressing the apples and selling the juice and vinegar.

For more about Joe and his press, see this six-year-old article in the Sweet Home New Era.

Brocard apple press, small
The Brocard press
wheels and motor, small
The back end–the engine and the wheels that turn the belts
loading the apples, small
Loading with apples
filling first frame, small
The apples are crushed above, and the mash falls into a frame lined with a cloth.
spreading the mash, small
The mash is firmly packed to fill the frame, the cloth is neatly folded over, the frame is lifted off, another rack is placed on top, and the frame and another cloth are placed on top of the new rack.

rolling cheese to press, small
The finished “cheese” is rolled over the ram.
ram, small
The ram presses from below, with 35 tons of pressure.
pressing from below, small
The stack begins to shrink, as juice pours into a tray beneath the press.
filling jugs, small
A hose carries the juice out the side of the barn, where the jugs and barrels are filled.
filling and pressing, small
When the second cheese is almost ready for pressing, the first has shrunk as much as possible.
dumping the pomace, small
The very dry pomace is dumped into a waiting front-end loader.
Brocard sales area, small
The marketing team awaits the customers.
Brocard poster, small
This is how Joe’s granddad advertised his service.

5 thoughts on “One Amazing Apple Press”

  1. Ms. Zeidrich, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to contact you IRL, because I have lived by your Jams and Jellies book (along with Stephen Dowdney’s Putting Up in the Southern Tradition) for the past decade or so since moving half my time to a farm in NW Indiana. I feel as though I know you, because I read and re-read portions of your book almost weekly! Thank you for the excellent kumquat marmalade and kumquats preserved in honey recipes; I have a single meiwa tree and at least one beehive that respectively produce SOMETHING to preserve together each year! Anyway, my interest in making your plum preserves with (tawny) port recipe uncovered an editing error, to wit: the recipe does not tell me when to add or what to do with the port! I know I could punt, but I would rather go to the source for the exact best time to add the booze. I just obtained pounds of plums and pluots, and need to get them canned this weekend. Thank you, if you receive this message, for your unwitting inspiration to this reader, and for whatever help you could offer.

    1. Linda, thank you for your kind words, and I’m sorry about the omission. You must have an early printing; I think the error got corrected in a later printing. Anyway, please add this just before “Divide the plums . . . “: “Add the port, bring the mixture slowly to a boil, and remove the kettle from the heat.”

  2. my great grandfather bought hs farmer’s press from the hydraulic press mfg of mt gilead ohio in 1892. our family pressed until 1932. The press sat idle until 1977 when the press was moved to the alexander schaeffer farm which is owned by Historic Schaefferstown, Inc
    I’m happy to say our family gets to operate the press every year at our harvest festival. I enjoy demonstrating the press and teaching about the importance of cider in local economies at the turn of the century. Im glad to see another old press being used today.
    Phil Krall

  3. Thanks for a gorgeous sense-memory!! There was an orchard not that far from us when I was a teenager, and it was a great treat to go there when they were pressing, and just stand over the press and inhale. The fragrance was paradisial, and of course, the flavor was every bit as good. Thanks for taking me back!

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