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Taste of my town: Klackle Orchards | News

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Taste of my town: Klackle Orchards

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- For the last several weeks, we've been featuring apple orchards and pumpkin farms during our Taste of My Town stories. This weekend, we wrap up this special fall series with a trip to Klackle Orchards in Greenville, to learn about the process of pressing fresh apple cider.

"The orchard we're on now used to be a potato farm that my grandparents purchased in the 60s and then planted fruit trees on," explains Natalie Klackle. "In the 70's my dad took over and that's when we got into the retail agra-tourism business by selling fruit on a wagon on the side of the road. In the early 80's we started taking people through the orchard on wagon rides for pick your own fruit and it's gotten bigger and bigger and bigger," said Natalie.

"Apple juice that you buy from the store is very different from cider," she explains. "Our cider starts with a blend of at least four if not eight or nine or ten different apple varieties. We want some sweet, we want some tart. We want some that are a little fuller bodied, some that when you squeeze you're going to get a lot of juice content out of them. We chose our varieties of fruit based on the seasonality of the orchard, so what we're picking and what we have right now. Then the fruit gets sanitized, sorted, then it goes up an elevator, gets grounded into a pulp, and then we have what's called a rack and cloth press so we actually build, in giant pieces of cheesecloth, we build a tower of this cider pulp that's about fourteen layers tall. Then we squeeze it. It squeezes down and goes through the pasturizer where we heat it between 158 to 159 degrees, that's our ideal. Then it gets chilled and bottled and sold from there. We press about a thousand gallons a day when we press, that takes about ten hours. We'll press about 20 to 24 thousand gallons this season."

Klackle Orchards is located on Carson City Road in Greenville. The store is open 7 days a week in October and November, and Klackleville is open Tuesday-Sunday.