Saturday, November 25, 2000

Right touch needed for best cider

        MILFORD TWP. — Out in the countryside of northern Butler County, Frank Owens has pressing business.

        He and his wife, Maxine, operate Owens Orchards on Ohio 177, not far from Oxford.

        The couple works in a white one-story building that resembles an elongated garage. Every inch is crammed with tea, pumpkins, onions, apples, popcorn balls, pears, corn, spice, tomatoes, gourds — even red and black licorice sticks.

        Mr. Owens, who took over the orchard in 1974 with his wife, grew up on apples, so he knows his work. His father bought the orchard in 1959, and Mr. Owens' three sons and two daughters helped with the business and the pressing until they grew up.

        The ritual begins in early fall, when Mr. Owens puts apples to his cider presses in a back room.

        “We wash (the apples), scrub them and squeeze the juice out of them, and strain it all,” he said.

        People who buy the beverage in grocery stores don't get authentic cider, he said. He calls that version more of an apple juice.

        “If it's real clear, then it has been filtered,” he said. “I try to use a good variety for a good blend.”

        In late October, he made 800 to 1,000 gallons. He sells quarts and half gallons at his place, and through other outlets, such as the Black Barn in Lebanon, Kroger's in Hamilton and Bob's Drive-Thru in Hamilton.
        HAMILTON — Hamilton High School's music department and the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Chorale will perform the Messiah at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 in the school's auditorium.

        Singers will be accompanied by the Hamilton High orchestra.

        Admission is free. Information: Clinton J. Bean, fine arts supervisor for Hamilton schools, 887-4816.
        LEBANON — Glendower State Memorial, the Greek revival mansion at 105 Cincinnati Ave., will open for tours from 1 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2-10.

        The event will feature carolers, entertainment and refreshments. Admission: $3 for adults, $1 for children.

        At the Warren County Historical Society Museum, 105 S. Broadway, the Ballet Tech Ohio Performing Arts Association will present “A Celtic Christmas” at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. Dec. 2.

        Admission is free. Seating is limited.

        Information: 932-1817.

        Randy McNutt may be reached at (513) 860-7118 or at The Cincinnati Enquirer, 4820 Business Center Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246.


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