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How we make apple cider

Apples and cider are part of a long tradition at Minnetrista. Have you ever wondered why?

It all began 140 years ago when the matron of Delaware County Orphanage, located on the southeast corner of what is now Minnetrista’s East Lawn, decided that the children needed to earn a little spending money. An orchard was planted, and the children were responsible for selling their produce. What happened next?

  • Frank C. Ball bought the property next to the orphanage in 1894.
  • The orphanage moved and Ball bought the entire site, including the 10-acre orchard.
  • In 1917, Ball hired Roland Webb to manage and develop Minnetrista Orchards. Webb cared for the orchard and gardens until he retired in 1977.
  • Webb expanded the orchard, added new varieties of apples, and began selling apples and cider. By the 1940s the sales barn was quite popular.
  • The cider was initially pressed by hand, but by the  late 1960s, cider making was partially automated.

The process of making cider was
always highly visible
. Generations of school children have enjoyed watching
cider-making and apple sorting demonstrations conducted by Webb and his crew
and now by theMinnetrista educators and grounds crew. Webb was known as the
“Johnny Appleseed of Muncie” to the hundreds of school children he talked with
about apples. Currently, many children participate in the Johnny Appleseed school tour each autumn.

Now our grounds crew and volunteers make all of our cider in the apple barn (the back part of the The Orchard Shop building)—sorting, washing, pressing, and bottling. Take a peek at how we make cider today, or stop in for an Apples & Cider tour during the fall months.