two thousand twenty
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Submitted by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

The purple juice was flowing Saturday morning at the Gansz Cider Mill in Lyons, NY.  It was the final “purple squeeze” of the 2012 season.  Located on Gansz Road, just ½ mile North from the Erie Canal Drydock and Lock 28 A, the working cider mill is a popular “Old fashioned weekend attraction” for local folk as well as many  boaters, bikers, and hikers.

Gansz Cider Mill, owned and operated by brothers Ed and Tom Gansz , was originally operated by their father  Archie Gansz.  The Gansz Cider Mill has been a family operation for 99 years!

It is indeed quite an operation! It is also a place to learn new words. The grapes are fed into a tractor powered hammer mill and ground into a mash-like slurry. The slurry is dropped into a holding tank.The mash-slurry  is then released from the holding tank to “make the cheese”-(layers of racks  are lined with heavy cloth and then filled with the mash).

1924 Farcourt Juice Press
Once the “cheese” unit is completed, it is ready for the press or BIG SQUEEZE!  The tractor engine is revved up, and a 1924 Farcort Juice Press applies 175 tons of pressure or squeeze to the “cheese”- the sounds of the oozing juice and the aroma of freshly squeezed concord grapes  permeates the air!  Waiting customers and spectators receive a tasting sample while their jugs and bottles are being filled.

According to co- owner Ed, “We usually press about 2000 gallons of grape juice in a season, but this year, maybe 1000! I think today is the final day for grapes…. We usually press about 12,000 gallons of cider, but I think this year we will press about 8,000 gallons.”

Although the Gansz Cider Mill presses cider for a few neighboring farmers, including Amish and Mennonite, most of the sweet cider is sold directly at the Cider Mill. According to Ed, “We usually have a vat of temperature controlled and ultra- violet -light treated cider waiting to be sold.  We fill your jug when you get here. If we are low on supply and you want to wait and watch your cider being pressed, you are welcome to watch…. People often wonder what we do with the leftovers from the press- we call the leftover material “pumice” – grape pumice is used as fertilizer and apple pumice is used as an additive for cow feed- they love it!”

In past years, the Gansz Cider Mill has always operated on weekends from September 15 until the weekend before Christmas; however, this year Mother Nature has altered that schedule. According to Ed, “Based upon what we are seeing, this year we might be done pressing by Thanksgiving time instead of Christmas.  The supply of apples might be low, but it is still a good year!”


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3 Comments to "Final Purple Squeeze Near the Erie Canal"

  1. Videomark Said,

    Nothing like fresh pressed!

    Posted on Fri Oct 05, 07:55:00 AM EDT

  2. Books, ETC. Said,

    Super article--Thank you!

    Posted on Fri Oct 05, 08:11:00 AM EDT


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