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Three Years After Fire, Cider Flows Again at Home Near Longmont

September 23, 2018

Kathryn Jordan, sister of Greg and Steven Jordan, steers apples toward a grinder used in a group cider pressing held Saturday at the family's property east of Longmont.

On a sunny first day of fall, among towers of ripened apples and rusty machines, the Jordan family held their first apple cider pressing since their barn — and much of their livelihood — was destroyed in a fire three years ago.

A couple dozen friends, family members, and people from all around Boulder and Weld Counties came out on Saturday to celebrate the momentous occasion. Everyone was encouraged to bring their own apples and contribute, and Community Fruit Rescue, an organization that collects extra fruit around Boulder, weighed in with around 900 pounds.

The event is a tradition that Steven Jordan and his brother Greg Jordan have been enjoying at Steven and Michelle Jordan’s home just east of County Line Road since the mid 1970′s, ever since the two teamed up to create their own apple cider press. They even melted down their own brass in a makeshift foundry to make one of the parts.

“We figured, hell, they did this in the bronze age, we should be able to do it today,” Greg Jordan said.

Their equipment has changed a lot since then, though, and now they make use of a hydraulic press to squeeze the ground up apple mash into cider.

When the fire happened , much of their old equipment was lost in the blaze. “The grinder was lost, our press cloths were gone, the buckets luckily were in a storage tank, but our main milk tank got fried,” Steven Jordan said.

Throughout the day, much of the activity happened on a concrete slab that once made up their old barn’s foundation. The new barn, a shiny green structure filled with various gadgets that he uses in his work as a machinist, stands right next door.

When everything was in full swing and the cider began flowing Saturday, kids and adults alike pitched in. From cleaning, to grinding, to packing and pressing, everyone had a job to do.

While everything was under-way, Steven Jordan said reconstructing was a “pain in the butt,” and that “it took a good year to get the building up.”

The fire took a big toll on the machining business that he runs himself, but he said that it’s almost fully operational again.

“I’ve got one more piece of equipment I need to learn on and get working,” he said. “I haven’t had a re-grand opening yet, but I’m hoping to do that in the next month or so.”

At that moment, though, he seemed more than happy to be spending his time making apple cider.

“I’ve been working on various aspects of it for two weeks,” he said.

Among the crowd there were some veterans of the event, like Josh Buster, a friend and business associate of Steven Jordan’s.

“I’ve been doing the cider with them for probably eight or 10 years,” he said. “I was born out here, but I grew up in New England, and New England makes fantastic cider. You cannot get good cider in Colorado in the stores. It’s all too sweet. It doesn’t have a good richness of flavor.”

Michelle Jordan, Steven Jordan’s wife, said that the year before the fire, they had many more apples to press. But even so, when all the apples were gone they ended up with around 100 gallons of cider.

The Jordans welcome anyone to bring their own apples and make cider with them. Those wishing to participate next year can contact them at Lt-cider@comcast.net .

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