Monday, October 4, 2010

sip of the season: bauman's apple cider

( also published here, at news, not blues. head over there to enter yourself in a drawing for a FREE gallon of the best pressed cider around! )

It's that tantalizing time of year again—where wooden crates are crowded with an overflow of just-picked scarlet, yellow, and green apples, stacked snugly into pick-up trucks and shipping cars from as far as Maryland, and soon, packed into Bauman's Apple Butter factory, of Sassamansville, where their cider mill produces the freshest pressed cider.
From September to December, their presses are plopped with the fruit's brilliant spectrum of fall colors, producing the rich, golden drink around the clock, Monday through Friday, including evenings, and on Saturday mornings, too.

The local, yet nationally-known, family-business first premiered over a century ago, in 1892 by John W. Bauman, who first purchased a cider press and appropriately operated it with a steam engine that was nestled inside his carriage manufacturing shop. Quickly, the apple-intensive side project replaced Bauman's carriage cobbling, as it continued to be mastered throughout the family line—now owned and operated by his grandson, Harvey and his wife, Kathy.
With the capabilities to press over a thousand gallons of cider a day, the Bauman family takes advantage of their production space and, as their name assumes, additionally produces a wide array of apple and fruit butters in beautifully intoxicating quantities.

Notorious for their low-fat, health-conscious jarred creations of naturally rich-and-sweet spreads, the entire process begins through their flash pasteurized apple pressing, with the tastes of the juices always important, for a substantial portion is used within their apple butter.
The autumnal routine, in simplest terms, starts with dozens upon dozens of apples being flooded in from an outdoor chute, which allows them to be barreled indoors, becoming finely chopped and then squeezed in the generously-sized press, extracting the apples' juices. Immediately, the cider is pumped into refrigerated tanks, where it then will be stored and bottled.

Of course, apple butter making is more extensive than cider making, and is jumpstarted by waltzing whole apples into waist-high cooking barrels and stewing cider among the rosy rounds, for about four hours. Eventually, the darkened fruit creation is screened, removing apple skins, stems, and seeds, and cooked for additional hours to hone in the perfected taste and texture.

The marveled Montgomery County business also bravely acts as a warehouse, a bottling and jarring factory, and distribution center, allowing the bauman family and their trusted employees to maintain their business at a one-stop-shop—and yes, there's a country store, too.

As a local, rural enterprise praising pure, all-natural creations from the season's sweet and savory fruit, there is no better way to toast your autumn day away than with a flooded glass of Bauman's Apple Cider, perfectly paired aside a wheat cracker topped with a dollop of apple butter—fall's finest creations found victoriously in your backyard.

Bauman's Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Butter is located at 116 Hoffmansville Road in Sassamansville and can be visited during operating in-season hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Besides apple butter and cider, their inventory is packed with homemade butters found in flavors like pumpkin, pear, peach, apricot, strawberry-rhurbarb, and sweet tomato. Visit Bauman's online at or by phone at 610.754.7251.