Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Hey guys, Zoe here.
You all know me as the friendly face that (usually!) greets you when you walk into the cider house.
You also probably know that our team at Ohana is very small - so more often that not, I'm also helping out Josh with the production of our wines, ciders and liqueurs.
While I know the basics of what's going on (I've been doing it for nearly six years, after all!) I'll be the first to admit I'm not the expert on the nitty gritty details. Sure, I know where the on/off button is and what the end result will be....but everything in between is definitely Josh's domain.
SO, I thought it would be kind of fun to tell you all about our new crushing and pressing line - from the non-technical perspective!
The Voran is clearly a beautifully designed piece of machinery. It's sleek, shiny and very well constructed. Having said this, holy moly it was hard work getting the belt on it! After about three weeks of pushing and shoving, unscrewing bits, stretching and stuffing we (well, Josh) finally managed to do it. Once the belt was on and locked together, it was pretty crazy to see it get even tighter when it was connected to the air pressure.
We gave it a dry run and all seemed good. It wasn't until our first time pressing fruit, we realised the belt kept slipping sideways. We just pushed through this first time (periodically turning it off to straighten the belt back up) and Josh pulled it all apart and fixed it for the next time we used it.
We used the Voran for whole strawberries first, and through the first roller it was great. As the pulp rolled through the second and third rollers, it was getting super mushed up and pulpy - imagine like strawberry puree. Not ideal, and we probably will go back to using our old press the next time we crush strawbs.
About a week or so later, we used the Voran for apples. We took turns bucketing in the apples (ugh, horrible job!) and it went surprisingly well! Obviously, it was still a loooooong day, but the juice ran clear, we got a great yield and the pulp coming out the end was so dry.
Cleaning up was the worst part. The belt has a self cleaning function, but it felt like it was just spraying water around to loosen the pulp....but then the pulp just cycled itself through the rollers again, getting stuck again, to get wet again to cycle through the rollers again! After what felt like an eternity of hosing, mopping and wiping we called it a day. There is probably some apple pulp stuck in there still...
So. All in all, I love it. It is still a long day, I still get covered in juice, pulp and water...but it works so well and it's really cool to see the results. The continuous nature of the press means there is no real down time, but it's also a nice constant work flow. Nothing was ever too stressful or chaotic, it was just a long day of bucketing and mopping!