IT’S APPLE Picking, cleaning, pressing, cider and wine sipping time

(Above) Sue Keefe operates her home-built apple press in the garage of her Clear Lake home.

by Marianne Gasaway

Sue Keefe has hardly met a hobby she didn’t like, but even she didn’t think picking a few apples would lead to an entire product line.

A plan to press some grapes has given way to grinding apples, pressing them and bottling apple cider by the gallon.  Hard cider, apple wine and apple cider vinegar soon followed.   A little education started her on the path to experimenting with apples and rhubarb, apples and cranberries, apples and pears and more.  The concoctions are only limited by her imagination; and that’s something Keefe has plenty of.

“It really is a blast,” Keefe says standing amid stacks of containers filled with apples.

This time of year the Keefe garage is turned into an apple processing center, as bushels of apples are cleaned, run through a homemade masher and then loaded into an apple press which Sue constructed herself.  Gallons of apple juice run out of the press on any given day.

Sue actually built the press with the idea that she would press grapes and make wine.  She had planted grape vines in honor of her

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