Making apple cider on Riley’s Apple Farm, Oak Glen, CA

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This last weekend we decided to head out of town and visit a farm for our Halloween pumpkins.  I searched online for farms near Los Angeles, but the closest one was an hour and fifteen minutes away.  If we went a little further, we could visit Oak Glen, the town featured in Sunset magazine this month. The one that appealed to me was Riley’s Apple Farm,  with a pumpkin patch, U-pick apples, make your own apple cider, and other harvest activities.

We packed up the car early Sunday morning, with a prepared lunch, thermoses of coffee and hot cocoa, and cold weather gear.  As we made our way up the road to the farm, we realized we weren’t the only ones with this idea.  Lines of cars were parked along the road, people making their way towards the farm.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but were excited for the adventure.

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The farm was surrounded by apple trees and there were activities here and there throughout the farm.  We walked around to choose which to do first.  After picking out a few perfect pumpkins, we got in line to make apple cider.  We watched as others had their turns.  Fill a bucket with the apples of your choice, wash them in a trough of cold water, grind them in the mill, and then press the ground bits.

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The kids left it up to me to pick out the apples, but were excited to help wash.  Next came the fun part: tossing the apples into the grinder as I crazily turned the handle.  After we ground every last apple, the kids turned the big wooden handle to squeeze out every bit of juice.  We poured it into a jug and savored our hard work.  Delicious!

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After making cider, the kids practiced archery and corn husk doll-making.  Despite the crowds of people around us, it was a perfect fall day on the farm.  I couldn’t have planned it any better.

Riley’s will be open from 10-5 Saturday and Sunday until mid November.  They are open during the week for tours only.  Check out their website for more information.  http://www.rileysapplefarm.com/

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Categories: food with kids, travel

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