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Fresh Apple Cider in LA?

Looking for fresh apple cider in Los Angeles. Do any of the groceries sell it?

Help - I have a craving! : )

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  1. I've seen it this time of year at the Hollywood Farmer's Market on Sundays. It tasted like the real thing and I grew up in Michigan with fond memories of going to the cider mill in the fall...

    1. Do you mean unpastuerized? Only one place I know of near LA that you can get fresh, unpasturized (yes, legally) apple juice, and that's RB orchards in Tehachapi. Best apple juice I've ever tasted, actually. The juice you buy was probably pressed that day or the day before!

      http://www.rborchard.com/

      Or do you mean actual cider, which is by definition alcoholic?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana

        Their website says they are already sold out and closed for 2007. But you can get on the mailing list for 2008.

      2. You can get unpasteurized cider at some of the apple orchards in Oak Glen such as Riley's.

        http://www.rileysfarm.com/

        8 Replies
        1. re: emily

          You gotta press it yourself at Riley's (which is how they got around the pastureization law)! Actually, that's REALLY fun, especially for families, but a lot of work. Generally, the little ones do it for a bit, get tired and bored in a few minutes, and let mom or dad finish up.

          1. re: emily

            You can buy it unpasteurised at Parrish Pioneer Ranch -- I just got some. I've had enough apple cider pressing to last me a lifetime, so I'm happy to buy the fruits of someone else's labour.

            1. re: emily

              Is it me or the Oak Glen orchards charges an huge sum for cider? I thought it was like $12-16 per gallon, and I think the most expensive one I saw was at Wood Acres.

              Seems like an easy enough thing to do at home by getting a juice extractor, and at least I can make sure that the apples I use are not the ones that were sitting on the ground that people may have trampled on.

              1. re: notmartha

                Sadly, no juice extractor cn get all the flavor a good, solid cider press can do!

                1. re: notmartha

                  I made a gallon of cider at Riley's a couple weeks ago. Though it tasted incredible, it was $20 a gallon!! In the old days, you'd pick the apples from the orchard off of the ground. Now, they have huge bins of fallen apples near the cider press, so it's basically pay-and-shred for the twenty bucks.

                  1. re: Outerspace

                    Hi, Outerspace. Jim Riley here at Riley's Farm. I know it's been a few months since you posted, but forums being what they are, people will probably check back on this topic from time to time. The San Bernardino EHS (Environmental Health Service) will not allow us to use "ground fall" apples anymore, because of the danger of e coli food poisoning. Personally, I feel it's overkill, but that's the current reality. We know u-press is expensive, from the consumer's point of view, but it takes a LOT of apples to make a gallon of u-press cider, since it's not the most efficient method out there. (A cider pressing facility would use hydraulic presses and get far more out of the apples than we can get with the technology of yesteryear.)

                    Thanks for visiting our farm--and thanks to everyone else on the forum who referenced us.

                    1. re: apple_farmer

                      Hi Jim,

                      Thanks for posting. Your explanation makes sense for the reasons that you don't allow groundfall any longer, but I was still a bit surprised by the price. The apples in the bins are quite distressed, and would not be usable in any other form than cider, so I wonder whether I would spring the 20 bucks again even though the flavor was great. Any thoughts?

                      1. re: Outerspace

                        Yes, we know it's expensive, but the public can't be allowed to use a cider press, (with grinding teeth after all) unattended, so that means we have to assign a good member of our staff to the task, who is a certified food service worker, who is good with people, who is knowledgeable, to supervise the process. He has to be on call ready to go even when there are no takers for the press as well. As for the apples, they are picked by one of our harvesters and they would not likely be super-market quality, but most of the time, I saw fresh, hard, premium fruit going into the press. (You may have been there at the end of the day.) As for the price of the apples themselves, we keep hearing that a lot of California fruit is being exported, increasing the price of the domestic stock. We raise our fruit, but we need to get market rates for it. I know this is all tremendously tedious, but there is a reason for the price.

              2. It's not fresh, it's not unpasteurized, but I just got a couple of bottles of apple beer at Trader Joe's and it was great with my homemade fondue.

                1. Not LA, but I've seen it in the past at Irvine farmer's market.

                  1. Can someone please explain the difference between "cider" and "juice"? I grew up in MA drinking "cider" and have only found "juice" here. It just doesn't taste the same, doesn't have the same intensity or bite. Is it just that the apples used are a different variety. I think the "cider" I remember was from MacIntosh or Cortland apples. (I am not referring to hard (alcoholic) cider.)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ktm

                      I grew up in MA drinking cider - I believe juice is pastuerized and filtered, whereas cider is just the squeezed apples.

                      1. re: LisaN

                        But what about the fresh unpasteurized unfiltered apple juice you can get at the farmers markets? That's the stuff I always buy hoping for a cider taste, and they are delicious, but they just don't taste the same.

                        1. re: ktm

                          The farmer's market I go do doesn't have the apple juice, so I'm not sure what is is, but here are some sites that might provide some insight.

                          Maybe it also has to do with the types of apples - I don't think apples in California or ones from Washington are the same qualitiy (texture and taste-wise) as east coast apples.

                          http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/cid...

                      2. re: ktm

                        Seriously, it's like the difference between katsup and ketchup and Catsup.

                        Anywhere but America, home to the stupidly lax and mind boggling FDA labeling regulations, Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apple juice. Here, cider can be hard or soft, sweet or dry, pastuerized or not. Actually, the laws brought about after the Odwalla apple juice debacle in the 90's makes it harder to find truly unpastuerized juice. A few places have found loopholes.

                      3. I grew up in New England so I am familiar with cider. Some producers do make a flash pasturized product which is okay. However, at Trader Joe's I have purchased a product labeled as Apple Juice in their refridgerated section that is made by one of those juice companies. It is brown, unfiltered and tastes good. Good luck.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: markethej

                          Thank you all! I grew up back East and even worked on an apple farm. I miss it so much.

                          Gonna give a couple of these ideas a shot! Much appreciated.

                        2. I buy it at the Saturday Santa Monica farmers market on Pico/Cloverfield. There's a guy whose name I cannot remember and he sells it. I cannot remember the name, but it's likely one of the names listed in other posts here. But the important thing is that he's selling it at the Saturday Santa Monica market.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: glutton

                            I looked at the bottle and it's called Mill Valley. I thought it was very good, but perhaps not quite as good as my nostalgic memories of the cider I drank in the midwest while apple picking as a kid. But seriously, can anything beat that nostalgia?

                            1. re: glutton

                              There's also a stand at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Saturday (on Arizona St, near the promenade), that carries apples, dried apples, cider vinegar and for the extraordinary price of $9, a quart of apple cider. It is delicious and completely unpasteurized. I wish it wasn't as pricey though. Sigh. The name is Ha's Apple Farm.

                              1. re: sweetTooth

                                Ha's is also at the Laguna Hills market on Friday and the Irvine market on Saturday, and if my memory serves correctly, the Studio City market on Sunday.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Ha's is at a ton of the markets, including the Saturday Pico market in Santa Monica. Also at that same market is a guy selling Mill Valley (I think that's the name) cider and, sometimes, cider vinegar. It's not cheap, but it's good quality.

                                  Ha's Fuji apples are the best I've ever had.

                                  1. re: glutton

                                    When I go to charming Oak Glen, I can reach out and touch the apple trees, the cider press, and the refrigerator cases right in front of me, and it's a short walk to my 5-day cooler in the car. How do these Farmers Market sellers keep their unpasteurized cider at the proper temperature from press to truck to market?

                                    1. re: Harry Nile

                                      Some sell it pasteurized, as you can imagine. Others just keep everything on ice the whole time. You'll see both at the markets.

                            2. I am from Marthas Vineyard, MA, and one of the things I miss the most is the fresh Apple Cider. There is nothing like it, and have yet to find anything even close to it out here.

                              1. if you are willing to go to santa monica, as i recall, the hungry pocket (on pico across the street from santa monica college) used to squeeze the apple juice to order, cup by cup.

                                maybe they still do this.

                                1. oh my gosh, FINALLY other people who are having the same problem as i am. nobody seems to even know what apple cider is out here! i grew up on the east coast and every fall/winter we looked forward to fresh pressed apple cider and cider donuts. my mom always made her special (virgin for the kiddies) rum mulled cider with spiced butter and we'd cozy up by the fire and play board games....oh how i miss those days!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kaitilins

                                    Got some great cider last weekend at Gopher Glen in San Luis Obispo

                                  2. I grew up in Michigan & we used to go to the cider mill in Frankln & watch the cider being pressed & going straight into the bottles. Plus they sold cake donuts straight out of the fryer so you'd get a grease spotted bag of hot donuts & fresh ice cold cider. Probably one of my favorite food combos. My family buys cider & donuts & freeze them so when I show up at Xmas I can have it--not as good but hey.

                                    1. I've many enjoyable versions but sadly, I don't most of the local versions compare to the Midwestern and East Coast versions. Most California apples are sweet apples and thus produce an overly sweet cider lacking in complexity. You really need tart apples in the mix to produce a complex cider.

                                      California is great for many things but it ain't cider country in my experience.