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Fresh Apple Cider in LA?

Radiosista Oct 16, 2007 10:35 AM

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

Help - I have a craving! : )

  1. h
    hpcat Oct 16, 2007 10:57 AM

    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. d
      Diana Oct 16, 2007 11:25 AM

      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!


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

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana
        hpcat Oct 16, 2007 11:36 AM

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

      2. emily Oct 16, 2007 02:05 PM

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


        8 Replies
        1. re: emily
          Diana Oct 17, 2007 06:20 AM

          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
            Das Ubergeek Oct 17, 2007 09:51 AM

            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
              notmartha Oct 19, 2007 12:35 PM

              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
                Diana Oct 19, 2007 01:16 PM

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

                1. re: notmartha
                  Outerspace Oct 20, 2007 12:52 PM

                  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
                    apple_farmer Apr 14, 2008 02:59 PM

                    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
                      Outerspace Apr 16, 2008 01:47 PM

                      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
                        apple_farmer May 6, 2008 08:54 AM

                        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. purplescout Oct 17, 2007 04:18 PM

                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. notmartha Oct 17, 2007 05:30 PM

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

                  1. k
                    ktm Oct 18, 2007 05:35 PM

                    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
                      LisaN Oct 18, 2007 06:55 PM

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

                      1. re: LisaN
                        ktm Oct 18, 2007 07:29 PM

                        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
                          LisaN Oct 18, 2007 09:50 PM

                          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.


                      2. re: ktm
                        Diana Oct 19, 2007 08:53 AM

                        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. m
                        markethej Oct 21, 2007 08:33 AM

                        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
                          Radiosista Oct 23, 2007 10:23 AM

                          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. g
                          glutton Apr 15, 2008 08:40 AM

                          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
                            glutton Apr 16, 2008 05:11 PM

                            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
                              sweetTooth Oct 22, 2009 10:58 AM

                              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
                                Das Ubergeek Oct 22, 2009 12:01 PM

                                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
                                  glutton Oct 22, 2009 02:25 PM

                                  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
                                    Harry Nile Oct 22, 2009 03:00 PM

                                    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
                                      glutton Oct 23, 2009 04:25 AM

                                      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. jonahlee Apr 16, 2008 12:03 PM

                              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. westsidegal Apr 16, 2008 07:09 PM

                                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. k
                                  kaitilins Oct 22, 2009 09:11 AM

                                  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
                                    LisaN Oct 22, 2009 01:20 PM

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

                                  2. s
                                    sparkareno Oct 22, 2009 10:28 AM

                                    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. j
                                      JudiAU Oct 23, 2009 12:20 PM

                                      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.

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