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Rogers Orchard plans expansion

December 30, 2013
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Rogers Family Orchard plans to expand to include a bakery and, eventually, a "cidery," owner Todd Rogers said.

Rogers said he expects to open the bakery during the 2014 season.

The orchard constructed an addition this year at the orchard's building for the bakery, which will offer such items as doughnuts and pies.

Rogers' son, Mitch Rogers, is hoping to start operate the cidery in 2016.

The cidery would produce 4,000 gallons of hard cider each season.

According to Mitch Rogers, the early settlers in New England tended to drink hard cider, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples, rather than beer.

According to the Horticulture Department at Cornell University, interest in small-scale hard-cider production has increased in recent years.

"In the past few years, there has been a tremendous interest in 'do-it-yourself' wine making or hard cider," the department's website said. "It seems to be a family affair with the entire family working together in the preparation, then watching the chemical reaction take place."

The process, according to the university, is simple.

"Making alcohol from the juice or fruit is done simply by letting the yeast in the juice change sugar to alcohol," the site said.

However, Mitch Rogers said the process can include a lot of little details. He said the taste of the hard cider can be different at each orchard.

Mitch Rogers said once the apples are pressed and the yeast blends applied, the mix is allowed to ferment for two to three weeks .Later, it is barreled and aged for six months to a year before being bottled and sold.

Mitch Rogers said his family bought the mill to make regular cider 20 years ago. A family friend, Luigi Buttino, taught Mitch how to make hard cider.

"He got it started in [Mitch's] brain about this," Todd Rogers said.

Buttino, who died three or four years ago, inadvertently inspired this business venture.

"He kind of taught me and sparked it in my mind," Mitch Rogers said.

The cidery will be built into the existing building at the orchard.

Mitch Rogers said the cidery will be built after by a government certification process.

"The federal liquor licenses are like a 27-page questionnaire, basically," he said.

Mitch Rogers said he would like to complete college and come up with a few recipes before starting to sell the hard cider at the orchard.

Mitch Rogers said he hopes to start selling the hard cider by 2016 at the earliest.

Todd Rogers said the orchard also plans to add a bakery.



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