Big Hill Ciderworks

Farm in Gardners, PA

Farm Facts

Type: Apples & Hard Cider Production

Years in operation: 3.5

Annual revenue: 50k-100k
(Average over last three years)

Overview

We are 2 small farms in South Central PA totaling about 30 acres in apple production. We quit our day jobs and bought the farms with the end goal of growing, pressing, fermenting and bottling our own hard ciders. There are 2 partners, each with their own small farm and one full time employee. We run 3 farmers markets per week with produce and hard cider, we do all of our own sales and deliveries all across South Eastern Pennsylvania and we do all the cider production ourselves.

Inside the Farm

How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
We want to produce some of the best ciders by controlling the fruit that goes into it. By growing and producing it ourselves, we are able to control when the fruit is harvested, how the fermentation is performed and other variables that couldn't otherwise be controlled. We also grow apple varieties that are specific to hard cider.

How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
It's a passion. We're just a few guys from the auto industry with brewing/winemaking backgrounds that had a dream to farm. Growing our own fruit for our ciders is a way for us to chase that dream. We've started up with very little debt and have been able to expand the business organically over the first 3 years.

How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
Our wish list is lengthy but there are a few pieces of equipment that would drastically increase our efficiency. We lack sufficient hot water and use a propane burner and a small stainless tank to keep up. A tankless water heater would really help cut our cleaning times. Also, we built our keg washer using an old dairy pump and a few valves. A new keg washer would also really increase our efficiency.

Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
We've quit our jobs and spent our life savings to start up. We're not family farms that have been in operation for generations so we've had to start with nothing. Our equipment is all old and used because it's what we were able to afford. It was also a dream for both of us, and while we started with the intention on producing hard cider, working on our farms is what we really enjoy.

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