Monday, May 5, 2014

Research Trip - Virginia Cider Press

My work-in-progress features a scene in a cider barn. It's a pretty pivotal scene. The hero is rebranding a haunted cider mill and turning it into a sophisticated microbrewery. I hadn't been in a cider mill in years, so I decided to go on a research trip.

Luckily, Fairfax County has a working cider mill in Kidwell Farm. Kidwell Farm is a restored 1920's dairy farm. It's a working farm and you can walk around and learn how farms operated during the heyday of Virginia agriculture.

 The farm had an apple orchard, so they have a cider press barn.

The outside is bright and cheery, which is, actually, totally wrong for my book. The story takes place in a famously haunted town so I need spooky.

This is so not spooky.

Honestly, it's like Norman Rockwell. That's not necessarily bad, my town is charming and colonial. But it also has something extra: ghosts. Would a self-respecting ghost live in this place? I don't know.

This is a little better. Nice shadows. The apples go in the conveyor belt and get shredded by the machine. Shredding is kind of creepy, right?

The apple mush is dropped down on the strainer and then the juice is pressed out.

The trip was pretty cool. I have newfound respect for my hero. He's going to build an empire out of a couple of apple trees and a rusty conveyor belt.

Now, I just have to figure out how he does it.